Judge sentences mother to 41 years in drunk-driving crash that killed daughter

Jessica Skeens

MUNCIE, Ind. – A mother convicted in a drunk-driving crash that killed her 6-year-old daughter has been sentenced to 41 years.

Jessica Skeens learned her punishment during a sentencing hearing in Delaware County Monday.

In August, jurors found her guilty of seven of nine charges she faced in connection with the May 2017 crash. Those charges included neglect of a dependent resulting in death; 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.

Sentencing guidelines from the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office said Skeen faced a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 50 years.

She was acquitted 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.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.