"My dad is an addict," 11-year-old girl wants help not prison fo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"My dad is an addict," 11-year-old girl wants help not prison for dad

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A young eastern Iowa girl is pleading for a show of mercy for her father, after she was badly hurt in a crash he's convicted of causing.

Tony Schmitz was behind the wheel when his car crossed the center line, hitting another car head-on along Highway 18 in Charles City back in December. Four people were hurt in the crash, including Schmitz and his 11-year-old daughter. She says his addiction played a big factor in the accident.

11-year-old Mary Jane Schmitz wants people to know her dad is not a bad person, he's an addict struggling with meth. She's forgiven her dad and as her physical injuries are healed, she now wants to make sure her dad gets the help he needs.

Tony is facing 15 years in prison for a variety of charges from the crash. Mary Jane wrote a letter to read at his sentencing.

It reads, "My name is Mary Jane Elizabeth Schmitz and I am almost 12 years old. My dad Tony is a very good dad and in regards to the accident, I have no hard feelings towards him, it was an accident."

She had 14 facial fractures with a permanent scar above her right eye and lip, but she says what her father is dealing with is much bigger.

She says, "My dad is an addict."

The day of the accident, Tony tested positive for having meth in his system. His wife Anna says he was clean for years but then 2 months before the crash, Tony got into another accident driving a U-Haul. It rolled and exploded, leaving him with serious burns.  

His wife Anna says, "Nobody will ever know what he went through in that first accident. There was one video and it's the most disturbing thing I've ever seen."
 Anna says it pushed him over the edge again,leading to this crash involving Mary Jane. The 11-year-old says she wrote this letter hoping people will understand addiction is a disease, one that they believe prison won't fix.

Anna says, "I read her statement and it makes me cry. To know an almost 12-year-old understands addiction better than I do and can come up with that... is amazing."

Mary Jane says, "I can't imagine life without my dad. Our dance recital is June 3rd and he's our biggest fan. He has never missed one. Next year is our father-daughter dance I can't wait for it."

The other driver 52-year-old Heather Meyer was also injured in that crash, but she's okay. Anna says tony is sorry for the injuries he caused her. 

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