Arielle L. Landing did a U-turn and rammed her SUV into a woman on an east-side Janesville street Oct. 6, 2017.
The victim went up onto the hood and fell to the pavement, where the SUV dragged her several feet before Landing drove away.
That act came from a “well of rage” she was unable to control, a prosecutor said Wednesday as Landing was sentenced in Rock County Court.
It was born of a horrible childhood, said her attorney Jason Sanders.
Sanders said Landing, 30, needs help for depression, drug abuse and related problems that she can get on probation. Sanders suggested five years of probation, to include a year in jail.
But Judge John Wood said the crime was so serious that he had to impose prison. He sent Landing to prison for four years followed by five years of extended supervision.
Wood said Landing was lucky she wasn’t facing a homicide charge. As it was, the victim suffered collapsed lungs, a bruised liver and fractures to the ribs, pelvis, collarbone, shoulder blade and arm.
The incident started outside Impact Confessions, where both women worked. The problem was a man with whom they both had some kind of relationship, Sanders said.
Landing pleaded guilty in October to aggravated battery.
As part of a plea agreement, charges of first-degree reckless injury by use of a dangerous weapon, hit-and-run involving great bodily harm and driving while revoked causing great bodily harm were dismissed, and the prosecution agreed to argue for no more than five years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Katharine Buker recommended five years in prison plus five years of supervision.
“The offense itself shocks the conscience. It was egregious. The viciousness of it, the amount of harm actually caused to the victim, the potential harm. … If her head had hit anything at a different angle, she’d be dead,” Buker said.
Buker said she would have recommended a longer sentence if Landing’s criminal record was more extensive.
Landing was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2011 and intoxicated driving in 2017.
Landing cried or was near tears throughout much of the hearing Wednesday.
Sanders said Landing suffered abuse, abandonment, fear, instability, loss and loneliness during her upbringing.
“She had missing parents with drug addiction. She was cared for by family, to a degree, foster care. … She suffered the death of her brother from sickle-cell (anemia), the death of a significant other by drug overdose,” Sanders said.
“On a number of statistical levels, she should have committed way more crime,” Sanders said. “There are a lot of factors in her upbringing that indicate that she should have been in violent situations, getting multiple arrests; she should have been in drug court in her 20s.”
But she avoided that until that day in 2017 when Landing and a former friend fought, Sanders said.
“She was assaulted. She had her hair ripped from her head. She blacked out, and she did something incontrovertibly stupid, dangerous and frightening,” Sanders said.
Sanders noted that an evaluation by the state Department of Corrections found a low probability that Landing would reoffend.
“She needs counseling. She needs (drug and alcohol) treatment,” Sanders said.
Wood agreed Landing needs help, but he said she can get that help starting in prison and then during the five years of supervision.
Landing apologized, saying “I never wanted to cause nobody that type of pain. I’m sorry for the pain her mom and sister had to go through, watching it, not knowing if she was going to be OK. … I hurt a lot of people, and that was never my intentions.”
Wood said the victim has been depressed and unable to return to work.
Wood noted Landing’s childhood included marijuana use starting at age 8 or 9.
“It’s a sad commentary on our community, … We basically are setting our kids up for failure when we introduce our kids to those kinds of drugs at such early ages,” Wood said.
Wood noted Landing’s mental health problems and said because she has not been treated for them, she is not a good risk to be released into the community.
Sanders had said Landing has not had insurance or money to pay for counseling.
Landing leaves three children, ages 11, 9 and 3, to be cared for by family. Wood said those children are victims of Landing’s acts, as well.