Mother was drunk when Hart family SUV plunged into ocean, police say

14 April, 2018, 22:22 | Author: Norman Carr
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A woman who called OR child welfare officials in 2013 about a woman who last month drove off a California cliff with her family says the household was run "like a regimented boot camp".

"Preliminary results showed Jennifer Hart had a.102 BAC (blood alcohol content)", the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Friday. California drivers are considered drunk with a level of 0.08 or higher.

Her wife, Sarah Hart, had a significant amount of the ingredient in Benadryl in her system, as did two of the children, CHP said.

On March 26, investigators recovered the bodies of the parents inside the auto and three children - Markis, 19; Jeremiah, 14; and Abigail, 14 - outside the vehicle.

The California Highway Patrol said that witnesses have told them they saw a SUV matching the description of the one owned by the Thottapilly family rolled through a highway pullout, slam into trees as it went down a 150-foot embankment and crash into the swift-moving waters of the Eel River.

Authorities have said that data from the vehicle's software suggested the crash was deliberate, though the California Highway Patrol has not concluded why the vehicle went off an ocean overlook on a rugged part of coastline.


Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the SUV at the time. Devonte Hart had made headlines years before the crash when a picture of him hugging a police officer during police-brutality protests went viral. Search teams have been looking for the missing family since then.

The juvenile has not yet been identified but authorities believe the child had been in the SUV. But after spending two weeks with the family Argyropoulos said she noticed kindness, love and respect for the children was largely absent.

None of the vehicle's occupants were wearing seatbelts, he said. The authorities were hunting for one additional few children: Hannah Devonte, 15; along with Sierra.

However, David Walker, the overseer of the day care and pastor of the adjoining church said the little girl caused her own injuries when she fell, and no other child was involved in the incident.

A neighbor of the Harts in Woodland, Washington, had filed a complaint, saying the children were apparently being deprived of food as punishment.

And authorities have said social services officials in OR contacted the West Linn Police Department about the family in 2013 while they were living in the area.

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