Father of child in van with alleged drunk driver says he forgives her

Posted at 1:06 AM, Jun 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-27 01:06:12-04

A lot of CBS-6 Facebook fans have been asking, “How could she?”

But an Amelia man whose 7-year-old son was in that now infamous Martial Arts World van says he forgives instructor Kristina Mangrum, the suspected DUI driver.

"It was a little chaotic trying to get information about what was going on,” said Paul Cary, who  is very aware the ride his seven-year-old son took early Tuesday morning with his karate class, could easily have ended in tragedy.

"I prayed and my wife prayed that the man upstairs would protect our children,” said Cary.  “And for that reason, I believe when people saw her weave and called it in, she had four or five more stoplights where something bad could’ve happened, but it didn't."

Cary says he and his wife have come to grips with what the Chesterfield Police investigation has revealed: court records indicate that Mangrum, when stopped at the intersection of Hampton Park and Hull Street, blew a blood alcohol test of .30 percent, almost more than four times the legal limit.

"We forgive her for what happened,” Cary said.  “It should not have happened. We know it was wrong,  but forgive is what we are supposed to do."

Police say Mangrum was driving with seven children, including two of her own, on board.

William Gross, the owner of Martial Arts World, says Mangrum was driving the kids to his location in Brandermill.  They were supposed to go on a field trip to Rockwood Park.

"People make mistakes,” said Gross.  “She needs help. I feel sorry for her.  I’m sorry for what happened to our parents. I'm sorry as an organization that we have to go through this."

Gross says Mangrum has been fired. Cary told me his son loves instructor Mangrum and was crying when he asked to come home early after finding out she wouldn't be his teacher anymore.

Mangrum is being held without bond in the Chesterfield County Jail.