Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Driver in California Plunge That Killed Family Was Drunk, Officials Say

Driver in California Plunge That Killed Family Was Drunk, Officials Say

California Highway Patrol officials said Thursday they had recovered personal items belonging to the family from the rain-swollen Eel River, confirming that the vehicle that fell into the river April 6 was that of the Thottapilly family.

Five hours before the crash welfare authorities in the Hart's hometown in Washington state tried to reach the couple and their six adoptees following "concerns that the children aren't being fed", according to what one of of the investigators told a 911 dispatcher during a request for a wellfare check that day.

The Harts, who immersed their children in alternative culture, left many friends and acquaintances with the impression of a happy family that emphasized love, unity and music. The 15-year-old made headlines in 2014 after a photographer shot a photo of him hugging a police officer during a protest after the decision was made to not press charges against the officers who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The woman behind the wheel of an SUV that careened off a coastal roadside cliff in Northern California last month, killing her and seven family members, was driving drunk at the time, police said on Friday.

"It was pure acceleration from the last brake application until it hit the bottom of the cliff", Greg Baarts, the acting assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol's northern division, said at the time.

The woman had not been formally identified but Allman earlier said the body was believed to have been one of the people in the vehicle.

He said examiners also found traces of an over-the-counter antihistamine that can cause drowsiness in the systems of the wife and two children.

Driver in California Plunge That Killed Family Was Drunk, Officials Say
Driver in California Plunge That Killed Family Was Drunk, Officials Say

A truck drives by the pullout where the SUV of Jennifer and Sarah Hart was recovered off the Pacific Coast Highway, near Westport, Calif., Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Oregonian reported that the school district in Minnesota said Sarah and Jennifer Hart pulled their children out of school after the incident and began home-schooling them.

When asked if it appeared whether Sarah Hart and the children were "knocked out" by the ingredient, Carpenter said he was not going to speculate.

In 2013, a former friend of the Hart family told child welfare officials in OR in 2013 that Jennifer and Sarah Hart deprived the kids of food as punishment. "We were trying to make sense of it".

It is still unclear why the vehicle was driven into the ocean with the family from Washington in late March.

The Hart home in Woodland, Wash. Jennifer Hart had an alcohol level of.102 percent, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Devonte Hart became the center of attention after the crash.

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