Mother formally charged in drunk driving crash that killed her 6-year-old daughter
UPDATE (Sept. 30, 2019) — Jessica Skeens was sentenced to 41 years.
UPDATE (Aug. 16, 2019) — Jessica Skeens was found guilty of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, operating a vehicle with a controlled substance, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, neglect of a dependent, and possession of marijuana.
MUNCIE, Ind.– A mother who admitted to drinking and driving before a crash killed her 6-year-old daughter is now facing several charges.
Jessica Skeens, 28, faces the following nine charges:
- Neglect of a dependent resulting in death – Level 1 felony
- Causing death when operating a motor vehicle with schedule I or II controlled substance in blood – Level 4 felony
- Causing death when operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol content over .08 – Level 5 felony
- Reckless homicide – Level 5 felony
- Three counts of neglect of a dependent – Level 6 felony
- Possession of marijuana – Class B misdemeanor
- Operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license – Class C misdemeanor
The crash occurred on Sunday, May 28, and killed 6-year-old Taelyn Woodson. Police said she was thrown from the van and wasn’t wearing a proper safety restraint. Skeens’ boyfriend Nathaniel Jordan is also facing charges for his involvement in the crash.
Skeens spoke to CBS4 from jail and said that day was supposed to be filled with fun and laughter. Then, Skeens said, the fighting began. She said Jordan told her not to come to the museum and they continued fighting until the trip was canceled. Then, she started drinking.
“I was drinking because I do that when I’m stressed out, which is obviously something I’m never going to do again,” she said. “I had a water bottle full of alcohol in the car.”
The fighting continued and they argued over who should be driving.
“The last thing I remember is him. He either hit me or pulled my arm, I’m not entirely sure, and I said ‘Nathan I’m trying to drive,’ and then he punched me in the face,” Skeens said.
That’s when the car crashed. Investigators said the van she was driving flipped. She was ejected and Taelyn was partially ejected. The young girl was pronounced dead on the scene.
“The next thing I remember is standing over Taelyn and she was covered in blood,” the mother said.
Skeens said she’ll have to live with the choices she made.
Jordan was formally charged last week with the following:
- Neglect of a dependent resulting in death
- Battery resulting in serious bodily injury
- 3 counts of neglect of a dependent
- Operating a vehicle while drunk endangering a passenger less than 18 years of age
- Driving while suspended
- Possession of marijuana
If convicted, Skeens and Jordan could face more than 50 years in jail.