Jurors find Farmland mother guilty of 7 of 9 charges in crash that killed daughter

Jessica Skeens

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 jury found a Farmland mother guilty of seven of nine charges she faced in a drunk-driving crash that killed her 6-year-old daughter.

Jessica Skeens, 30, was convicted Thursday of the most serious charge she faced—neglect of a dependent resulting in death. According to sentencing guidelines from the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, the felony charge carries a 20-year minimum and a 50-year maximum.

Skeen was also found guilty of operating a vehicle with a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance in the body; operating a vehicle while intoxicated; three counts of neglect of a dependent; and possession of marijuana.

Jurors acquitted her on charges of reckless manslaughter and operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license.

Skeens admitted she’d consumed whiskey and smoked marijuana before her van crashed on May 28, 2017, on northbound State Road 67, just north of Meeker Avenue in Muncie. Police said the van flipped; Skeen’s daughter, 6-year-old Taelyn Woodson, was ejected and wasn’t wearing a proper safety restraint. She died from her injuries.

Skeens told the court that her impairment didn’t cause the crash, maintaining that her then-boyfriend, Nathaniel Jordan, punched her right before the crash. Jordan also faces charges in the case.

Skeens’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30.

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