MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A man punched his girlfriend as she was driving a van carrying him and her four children along an Indiana highway, causing a single-vehicle crash that killed her 6-year-old daughter, police said.
Meanwhile, authorities also charged the girl’s mother with drunken driving.
Police said reports showed Jessica Skeens, 28, had a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit of .08 percent, according to WRTV-TV.
Skeens was arrested Tuesday on preliminary charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, driving while intoxicated causing death, neglect of a dependent and possession of marijuana, the television station reported.
Nathaniel Jordan, 27, was arrested following Sunday’s crash along State Road 67 that killed Taelyn Woodson. He faces preliminary charges of neglect of a dependent causing death, criminal recklessness and domestic battery.
Online records don’t list an attorney for the Muncie, Indiana, man, who remained jailed Tuesday on $57,500 bond.
State police said Skeens, of Farmland, Indiana, and front-seat passenger Jordan were arguing when he punched her and grabbed the steering wheel. The van left the four-lane state highway near the Muncie bypass and rolled over in a ditch about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, killing Woodson.
Police said they believed alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash.
Skeens suffered a broken arm, while Jordan and three children were treated for minor injuries, police said.
Eric Hoffman, Delaware County’s chief deputy prosecutor, said Tuesday he expects the office will file formal charges against Jordan later this week once police forward their crash findings to the county office.
Woodson’s grandmother, Kathy Parris, said the youngster was a beautiful and loving child.
“She was the happiest child you could be around. She had a loving heart and loved to color and draw,” Parris told WRTV-TV.
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