Mother pleads guilty to giving son alcohol before fatal crash

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ A southwest Illinois mother has pleaded guilty to providing alcohol to her son before he crashed his car and died.

According to court documents, 40-year-old Ginger G. Zehner-Denton of Belleville pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor unlawful delivery of alcohol. That’s a lesser charge than the class 4 felony she initially faced _ unlawful delivery of alcohol resulting in the death of a minor.

Stephen Zehner of Belleville died of injuries from a one-car crash early on the morning of Jan. 26, 2013. He was 18. A 16-year-old passenger, Megan Webb, spent three months in a hospital for treatment of her injuries.

The police complaint says Zehner-Denton gave her son a six-pack of beer and a pint of whiskey.

Zehner-Denton is scheduled to be sentenced July 31.


  • Steven Sweeney

    She’s a lousy mother and her bad decision killed her child.It also nearly killed another.She should get manslaughter or worse.The bright side is she is still open to civil suits.

  • David

    This is why you need to be your child’s parent and not their FRIEND….they might not like it if you are not the “cool” mom or dad but in the end they will be better for it.

  • Groovy Chick

    There is good reason the drinking age is 21. Illinois tried lowering the age to 18. There were tragic results. Mixing drinking with know-it-all youth, which already thinks it is invincible was a proven mistake. For a mother to provide her child with the alcohol needed to make him even more stupid is unconscionable.

  • jay

    This would all be wrong if news 2 told the truth they want this response out of ppl they love the bashing actually stephen was drinking at a beer pong party at megans house he nvr touched the 6pack or whiskey. The kids friend had a fake Id and thats how they had a party

  • Liz

    I don’t advocate encouraging underage drinking, but wake up and be honest with yourselves. Teenagers do this, have always done this, and will always do this. Instead of fighting nature, give them safety. Her mistake wasn’t giving him the alcohol, it was letting him drive. Kids will get alcohol one way or another. I don’t know anyone who waited until they were 21 to drink, myself included, and my parents never gave it to me. I’d be willing to bet no one reading this article was 21 before they had their first drink either. But if she had given it to him and taken his keys, there would have been no problem. That, and teaching the responsibility of calling for a ride when they’ve had too much, giving kids the lesson that if they mess up and drink (as we know they will) that they CAN call their parents for a ride.

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