By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Cordie's mother appears on misdemeanor charges

Rusty Rae / News-Register##Attorney Walter Todd stands with his client, Jennifer Weathers, center, as a woman from the pretrial release office explains Weathers  release agreement following her appearance in court Wednesday afternoon.
Rusty Rae / News-Register##Attorney Walter Todd stands with his client, Jennifer Weathers, center, as a woman from the pretrial release office explains Weathers' release agreement following her appearance in court Wednesday afternoon.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Jennifer Weathers appeared with her attorney, Walter Todd of Salem, in Yamhill County Circuit Court
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Jennifer Weathers appeared with her attorney, Walter Todd of Salem, in Yamhill County Circuit Court
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Weathers signs her release agreement following her court appearance.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##Weathers signs her release agreement following her court appearance.

Jennifer Weathers was arraigned on one count each of driving under the influence of intoxicants and recklessly endangering another person Wednesday afternoon in Yamhill County Circuit Court in connection with the death of her daughter Meighan Cordie.

The charges are Class A misdemeanors.

The 50-year-old Weathers, a Portland resident, according to court records, appeared before Judge John Collins with her attorney, Walter Todd of Salem.

She was not taken into custody. Weathers left the courtroom following her arraignment, met briefly with a pre-trial release officer at which time she signed a release agreement and was then escorted to the jail by sheriff's Capt. Rich Geist, who oversees jail operations, for the booking process.

Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Donner told Collins he did not object to Weathers being booked and released, in part, because she has no criminal record.

While out of custody, Weathers is prohibited from consuming alcohol and can have no contact with Cordie's 3 1/2-year-old daughter, who is being cared for by her father.

Her next court appearance is at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, for a diversion hearing on the DUII charge. Judge Ladd Wiles will tentatively preside.

Weathers said she had no comment as she was led down a hallway by Geist to the jail.

"These charges have nothing to do with the tragic death of my client's daughter," Todd said. "Meighan jumped out on her own while the car was moving. My client is devastated by her daughter's death, of course, but these misdemeanor charges are unrelated."

Donner told Collins that the prosecution will object to Weathers being eligible for the diversion program for first-time DUII offenders because there was a young child in the vehicle she was driving when Cordie either jumped out or accidentally fell out of the vehicle the night of Saturday, Aug. 18. Mother and daughter, accompanied by the child, had attended a wedding and reception in the Grand Island area earlier in the day.

Weathers reported to investigators with the Yamhill County Major Crimes Response Team that she and Cordie got into an argument. District Attorney Brad Berry said at a press conference last week that the two were physical with each other.

Cordie got out of the car, according to Weathers, who said she couldn't find her afterward. The 27-year-old was reported missing to the sheriff's office by her mother the next day. An exhaustive ground and air search involving hundreds of people and multiple agencies spanned five days.

Her body was found by joggers the morning of Thursday, Aug. 23, over an embankment north of Dayton on Foster Road, which serves as the off/on ramp for Highway 18 and 221 - Wallace Road.

Cordie died instantly of massive back and head injuries, according to the state Medical Examiner's Office. Based on the investigation, her death was ruled accidental by Berry.

See Friday's print edition for additional details.

Comments

sunrise

I believe Walter Todd is the same attorney that defended Leslie Lewis when she was illegally taping Mary Stern. Yes, this client was so devastated that she didn't stop the car and lied for days about what happened to her daughter. It's a long stretch to say that these charges are unrelated. Really????

Bill B

I'm no lawyer, but aren't there laws regarding leaving the scene of an accident, reporting an accident and coming to the aid of someone injured? Not sure our DA spent much time on this one.

Charlene

Walter Todd is the best lawyer money can buy on the defense side I'm sure he cut a plea deal to get the DUI n endangered knowing the DUI will be a diversion and that's why there will be no other charges. It's sad and tragic but he knows how to play the game

consultant

I'd have to agree with Charlene. Anyone who can get off an elected official that was caught red-handed doing something that was clearly illegal definitely knows how to play the game, which in both cases is very sad. No justice in either one. A sad commentary on our legal system.

Joel

Not to mention that if the prosecutor concluded that the best way to decide the whole thing was by challenging Mr Todd to a game of one on one basketball out behind the courthouse...looks like that would probably be a losing proposition too.

Kat758

"Oops"

Don Dix

Can one be charged with a DUI without any sobriety test to back up the accusation?

Joel -- quickness and a good handle nullifies the size advantage, especially one on one.

bonnybedlam

Can someone please explain how there aren't numerous other charges against her? She left the scene of an accident, failed to perform the duties of a driver, lied to the police and wasted everyone's time during the week-long search--that's providing false information and obstructing justice, isn't it? She left her own child for dead and lied about it while authorities and volunteers combed the countryside, and continued to try to lie when the body was found by accident, miles away from where she told searchers to look. It sounds like the prosecutor decided that being intoxicated at the time is not just the only crime worth charging, it mitigates all of the others.

myopinion

The obvious victim here is Meighans daughter, but imagine how the newlyweds are feeling. This will be their anniversary year after year.

T.W.S.

Don Dix - "Can one be charged with a DUI without any sobriety test to back up the accusation? "

Yes, it is called a 'confession' (be it exited utterance or fall out admission)

T.W.S.

bonnybedlam - the "accident" must involve a "hit," which is why it is called a "hit-n-run" law that also includes failure of a driver to perform/render aid to the injured.

Since the vehicle was still moving and she hit nothing, how does the classic "hit-n-run" statute apply?

Mind you I am not condoning anything here by any means defending her as well. In fact, I think you are correct on the obstruction - AND - and if her daughter feared for her life as well as her child and opened the door to startle her mother to stop the car so she could exit, only to accidentally fall out...that is a tragedy. BUT, if she wanted to leave the vehicle and the mother refused, while theoretical, kidnapping and false imprisonment could have been charged. It wouldn't be the first time.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/woman-jumps-out-uber-window-after-alleged-kidnapping-attempt-n912021

Bill B

Oregon 811.705
"A person commits the offense of failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons if the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that results in injury or death to any person and does not do all of the following:

(a) Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible. Every stop required under this paragraph shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary."

How does this law, a felony, not apply?

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