South Carolina Man Gets 28 Years for Leaving Toddler in Burning Car While Fleeing Police

Imhotep Norman. (Spartanburg County Detention Center)
Spartanburg County Detention Center

A South Carolina man has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for leaving his 19-month old daughter to die in a burning car while fleeing police, authorities said.

28-year-old Imhotep Norman’s sentence was announced on November 9 in a press release from Spartanburg County’s Office of the 7th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette.

The release states that Norman “pleaded guilty of homicide by child abuse, failure to stop for a blue light and siren, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of with intent to distribute amphetamine, possession of oxycodone, and possession of xanax.”

On April 12, 2019, Norman, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, had been speeding on Highway 14 in his 2015 Hyundai Sonata with his 19-month old daughter, Xena Norman, in the car when South Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers attempted to stop him, the release states.

Highway patrol troopers previously stated that Norman was traveling 67 mph in a 45 mph area in Greenville County, according to the New York Post.

“Norman drove over the median of Highway 14 and traveled [sic] northbound on I-85,” the release states. “Flames and heavy smoke spewed from Norman’s car before troopers forced Norman to the right lane of the road near the 60-mile marker.”

A trooper watched as Norman tossed a backpack out of his vehicle amid the pursuit, which held a variety of drugs, the solicitor’s office stated in the release. A sheriff’s deputy recovered the bag and “preserved the evidence.”

Firefighters extinguished the fire in the vehicle and discovered Xena Norman’s body, according to the release. The toddler died from “acute carbon monoxide poisoning” and “thermal burns.”

Norman had taken off into a wooded area nearby, and hours later, he was apprehended “during a traffic stop near USC Upstate,” per the release.

“After his arrest, Norman acknowledged leaving the child in the car during a post-arrest interview. He told investigators he thought law enforcement would rescue the child,” the solicitor’s office wrote. 

At his bond hearing on April 13, Norman stated“I just know that the car wasn’t on fire when I got out the car,” per Fox Carolina. 

“I would have stayed in that car with my daughter. I would have never got out the car while the car was on fire,” he continued. “I seen sparks coming from under the tires when I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop at that point. I don’t know why what happened to the car were I couldn’t stop”

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