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Woman pleads guilty to DUI manslaughter in Summer Moll case

TAMPA — Summer Moll lost a tooth on Tuesday. That's supposed to be all the trauma a 6-year-old knows.

But Summer has seen and felt so much more.

On Wednesday, her family let reporters visit as she played with a friend. They asked how she was feeling. They asked what had happened to her head.

"A skin graft," she explained, rolling up her pant leg to reveal a big red mark on her left thigh.

Earlier that day, Cheryl Maria Riemann, 27, of Ruskin pleaded guilty in a Hillsborough County courtroom to driving drunk and causing the Sept. 10, 2008, crash that killed Summer's mother, Jennifer O'Boyle, and critically injured Summer.

The judge agreed that the little girl can come to court on Oct. 27, when Riemann is scheduled to be sentenced.

Summer's grandmother wants Riemann to see her young victim.

"I want it to haunt her. I want her to see all her scars," said Tammy Rosian, 48, who has taken care of Summer night and day since the accident. "I want her to imagine it being one of her children."

Authorities say Riemann was drunk at 2 p.m. and driving the wrong way on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway when her Honda Pilot crashed head-on into O'Boyle's blue-green Pontiac coupe. It was the day before O'Boyle's 25th birthday.

Summer spent many weeks at Tampa General Hospital. Both her arms and legs were broken; her skull was fractured. The hole in it won't be operated upon until she is a teenager, her grandmother said.

She suffers short-term and long-term memory loss and has already undergone about 15 surgeries. Several more will come in the future.

Riemann faces up to 23 years in prison on charges of DUI manslaughter, DUI resulting in serious bodily injury and three counts of property damage involving other cars in the accident.

Rosian said the punishment isn't enough. She doesn't think any punishment could be.

"I can feel sorry for her, but I can never forgive her," said Rosian, who couldn't stop her tears when she saw Riemann for the first time in court Wednesday. "I kept thinking, 'She took my baby.' "

Since the accident, Summer has been Rosian's sole focus. She quit her job at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union to devote all her time to her only grandchild.

She must be there every time Summer calls. "Meemaw!"

She carries a calendar in her pocket to keep track of Summer's busy schedule.

Physical, occupational and speech therapy three times a week for two hours. Homeschool three times a week for an hour. And starting this fall, part-time school at Brooker Elementary three days a week for two hours.

No two days are alike, and each brings a new challenge.

It took Summer nine months to learn how to write her first name. Sometimes she catches on quickly; other times she forgets what she just learned.

She has seen Riemann on the television news.

Very soon, Rosian will tell her about the sentencing, maybe show her a picture so she knows what a courtroom looks like.

For now, she is busy wondering what the tooth fairy will bring her this time.

Nandini Jayakrishna can be reached at njayakrishna@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Woman pleads guilty to DUI manslaughter in Summer Moll case 08/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 5, 2010 6:35pm]
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