1. News
  2. /
  3. Crime

Tampa grandmother faces DUI manslaughter charge in 10-month-old grandchild’s death

The 50-year-old was driving with the baby in her lap when she crashed into a guard rail, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Helen Mention, 50, of Tampa, faces charges of DUI manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter of a child, careless driving and violating Florida’s child restraint law, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
Helen Mention, 50, of Tampa, faces charges of DUI manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter of a child, careless driving and violating Florida’s child restraint law, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
Published Nov. 5, 2019
Updated Nov. 5, 2019

MANGO ― Helen Mention was driving with her 10-month-old grandchild on her lap on Oct. 25 when she crashed into the guard rail while trying to drive onto Interstate 4, troopers said.

Baby Harlem was not in a car seat and died of her injured days later. The grandmother, who wasn’t wearing her seatbelt, was also hospitalized.

Now the Florida Highway Patrol says the 50-year-old didn’t just fail to put the baby in a car seat ― the grandmother was driving while impaired.

Helen Mention had a blood-alcohol level of 0.225, troopers said. That’s nearly three times the level at which Florida law presumes impairment.

The Tampa grandmother was arrested Monday on charges of DUI manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter of a child, careless driving and violating Florida’s child restraint law.

The crash took place at about 9:06 a.m. while the grandmother was driving a gray 2001 Nissan Altima. She was headed north on Mango Road, then entered the westbound ramp onto I-4. But as the car turned, troopers said it crashed into the inside guard rail.

Grandmother and granddaughter were both taken to Tampa General Hospital for emergency treatment after the crash in Mango. The child died on Oct. 28.

The Highway Patrol did not disclose exactly how the baby was injured, what injuries he suffered or the cause of death. The grandmother was treated at the hospital and later released.

But troopers said while she was in the hospital, Helen Mention’s blood was drawn and then tested. Florida law presumes impairment with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.

Troopers arrested Mention on Monday in Tampa. She was booked into the Hillsborough County jail, where she was being held without bail.

State records show she has a long arrest history, dating back to her first arrest in 1991 at age 22. The next year she was arrested on charges of possession of cocaine and sentenced to two years and six months in state prison. She racked up several minor arrests after that, then was convicted of more drug charges in 2004. Her sentencing information for those offenses was not available, however.

Her driving history also shows multiple citations for infractions such as driving with a license cancelled, suspended or revoked and violation of open containers laws going back to 1999, records show.

Her last driving offense was in January 2018, which involved a crash and resulted in Mention being convicted of reckless driving in county court.

Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.


  1. Jesse Michael Chester, 40, was arrested on 20 counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of video voyeurism, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    A child porn investigation led to secretly recorded videos of adults using the bathroom, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  2. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, left, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody were appointed to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice by Attorney General Bob Barr. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will also join a commission that will “explore modern issues affecting law enforcement," according to the Department of Justice.
  3. St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, left, and U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announce the creation of the regional Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A six-county task force from Hernando to Polk to Sarasota will band together thanks to a $742,000 Justice Department grant.
  4. Facebook user Cornelius King posted this warning on November 19, 2019. Hillsborough County Sheriff says it is a hoax, but the viral message continues to spread online. [Facebook screenshot]
    A viral post encourages Florida drivers to run over people they see in the street to avoid being attacked.
  5. Booking photo of Tyler Andrew Garrison, accused of approaching a stranger in downtown St. Pete, cutting him on his jaw and demanding his wallet. The victim suffered cut that required 20 stitches, police said. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The victim suffered a cut to his jaw that required 20 stitches, according to St. Petersburg police.
  6. Robert Eugene Koehler, a 60-year-old registered sex offender from Palm Bay, was arrested Saturday. Authorities believe he is the notorious “Pillowcase Rapist,” who was blamed for attacking over 40 women in South Florida during the early 1980s. [Miami Herald]
    Authorities say the man who spent five years attacking women from South Miami to Deerfield Beach is a 60-year-old registered sex offender from Palm Bay.
  7. Jack Pearcy, left, and James Dailey, right, as they appeared when they each entered Florida's prison system in 1987. Both men were convicted of taking part in the murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio in Pinellas County. Pearcy got a life sentence. Dailey got the death penalty. Dailey's lawyers have argued that Pearcy is solely responsible for the crime. [Florida Department of Corrections]
    The case of James Dailey, facing a death sentence for the 1985 Pinellas County murder of a 14-year-old girl, is full of contradiction, ambiguity and doubt. Court records tell the terrible story.
  8. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Eleven birds were seized from the property, all with injuries and other signs of fighting.
  9. Ralph Wald and his wife, Johnna Flores, leave the Orient Road Jail on May 30, 2013, after Wald was acquitted in the fatal shooting of her lover. [[TIMES (2013)]  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Ralph Wald shot and killed his wife’s lover in their home in 2013, but a jury found him not guilty. Now he’s charged with manslaughter in the September death of a woman in his home.
  10. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking for information about a man accused of killing a duck at a Town 'N Country apartment complex in Tampa. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. [Bay News 9]
    He used bread to lure the bird in before killing it. A complaint was filed with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.