SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Brylee McClellan showed her mother what love was like.
Up to then, Susie McClellan felt like an outcast in society.
She was a lesbian living in Provo, a vegan, and was ostracized from her own family
“I was 37, lesbian, and had never had relations with a man,” McClellan said. “I came up sick and found out I had been raped when a neighbor let a guy use my key to go to the restroom.”
And from that sexual assault, she gave birth to Brylee.
“She is, was such a gift to me,” said McClellan. “I don’t know how an angel came from me and I would do anything to let everyone see and feel the light and love that Brylee is.”
But that’s not possible any longer. In 2016, Brylee was killed in an accident in Provo. Her mother and the driver were both impaired according to police. The 4-month-old was not in a car seat.
That night, McClellan and Chelsea Fuller were drinking according to charges filed against the two women. In addition, court documents showed Fuller has also taken Citalopram, Alprazolam, and Ambien. McClellan needed a ride home and Fuller agreed to give them a ride.
“I trusted someone, in a crappy situation that was not in my control, to drive us … to our apartment,” McClellan said. “Chelsea passed out from meds. I didn’t know she had taken it. She passed out just under 2 blocks … from my apartment.”
Police said Brylee and her mother went through the windshield. McClellan survived but suffered skull fractures and broken bones in her face. Brylee sustained massive head trauma as well as neck and spinal cord trauma. She died four hours after being taken to the hospital. McClellan’s spirit was crushed.
“I died when I handed her through the windshield (that) I kicked out with my bare feet, to place her in an Angel’s arms,” she said.
Fuller was charged with the more serious of the crimes, negligent automobile homicide, a second-degree felony, and DUI. McClellan was charged with negligent automobile homicide but only as a Class A misdemeanor.
Eventually, Fuller pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a total of up to ten years in prison. On Tuesday, Fuller who became eligible for parole appeared before a hearing officer with the state’s Board of Pardons (BOP). She offered an apology, took responsibility, and expressed remorse.
“I still wished it had been me that had passed away,” said Fuller. “That someone so small and was such a bright light had been wronged, had been taken from the world and someone like me, who was just … I just felt worthless.”
McClellan also pleaded guilty to reduced charges and was sentenced to 13-days in jail.
But the punishment doesn’t come close to the suffering she still feels over the loss of Brylee.
“I never ever had felt loved,” she said. “Never felt good enough, never believed God loved me, or truly had been happy until Brylee taught me what love, and happiness was. When I was told she didn’t make it, I lost my soul. I wish I’d died too. I was a good mom.”
But the public didn’t take too kindly to McClellan and her actions. After the incident she said she was called a “baby killer.” And to this day, she still remains bitter towards the judicial system for charging her with the crime and the way she was treated by police following her arrest.
As for Fuller, the board of pardons will review her testimony and decide if she should be paroled. Check the status through the bop link.