A Connecticut mother is charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle after state troopers say she drank part of a bottle of liquor on her way home from running errands and struck her 3-year-old son in her own driveway. The boy died less than an hour at the hospital.
According to the state police, Jessica Raymond, 34, admitted to drinking “1/2 to 3/4 of the 1/2 pint bottle of Jaegermiester [sic].”
“I drank the Jaegermiester [sic] quickly, I didn’t sip on it,” Raymond said in one of several statements contained within a police report. “It was only a few ounces. I believe I was around 200ft from my driveway when I drank the Jaegermiester [sic].”
However, a blood alcohol report on the defendant registered nothing — “0.000g% (BAC) ethanol by weight” — after laboratory testing.
Raymond did admit to the authorities that she “looked away for five seconds” while traversing her family’s long driveway after a set of groceries that fell to the floor of the minivan she was operating. She said she “hit a bump in the driveway” which caused the groceries — including another bottle of liquor, this time Jack Daniels — to fall to the floor.
At one point during a police interview, the defendant referred to herself as the “Queen of distractions.”
According to court documents, the boy’s father (identified only as a 39-year-old male) waved down a state trooper by “screaming for help” as the law enforcement officer drove west on Route 74 in the Town of Willington. The father said his “son was hit by a vehicle that his wife was driving and needed help.”
The trooper arrived at the scene to find another witness on a cell phone waiving him down. Raymond was “screaming and bent over a white juvenile male” — the victim.
The boy, who measured 3’2″ and weighed but 35 pounds, was clad in black shorts, a black tee shirt containing green and white lettering, and blue sandals. He was “excessively bleeding from the left side of his face due to what looked like extreme blunt force trauma,” a police report states.
Raymond said she believed the boy was breathing. The trooper checked the boy’s carotid artery and detected a “slow faint pulse.” When the trooper asked Raymond what happened, she said she didn’t know. The boy’s father said Raymond hit the child with her vehicle.
“Jessica then stated she didn’t feel anything and did not know she hit him,” the police report reads. “Jessica kept repeating ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.'”
The boy’s father was “pacing back and forth saying that Jessica hit him [the boy] with the vehicle,” the report continues.
The trooper next discovered a “light pink handbag with a half pint of Jaegermeister next to it” near the driveway. “The half pint was almost empty and outside of the handbag.”
Raymond admitted the items were hers. She said she “started drinking it when she turned into the driveway” and “had just purchased the bottle while she was out running errands.”
The boy’s father waived down the trooper at 5:07 p.m. A doctor at the nearby Rockville Memorial Hospital pronounced the boy dead at 5:59 p.m.
Another witness on the scene later told the state police that she rented a room from the defendant and the boy’s father. The witness, described only as a 42-year-old female, said she argued at times with the defendant and was looking to move out of the house. However, the witness said she was laid off due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and was financially struggling.
The witness said the defendant only paid attention to the victim when it was convenient for the defendant. She said the victim would sometimes run out of the house when the doors were open to play unattended outside.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Jessica loves her children,” the witness said, “but she is not very involved on a daily basis.”
Another witness — a neighbor — said the boy was frequently outside playing and that she was “very concerned for” the boy’s safety.
On the day the child died, the roommate said the defendant and the victim’s father began “bickering” that the father, who had a “rare day off,” wanted to spend time with the victim and not with her.
The roommate described the boy’s father as a man who “works almost 7 days a week during the daytime hours installing drywall.” The defendant was described as “stay at home Mom.”
On the day the boy died, “Jessica was dressed up more than normal,” the witness said. When the witness asked about the defendant’s attire, the defendant said she was “just depressed.”
The witness said the defendant “seemed to be jealous of the time” the boy’s father wanted to spend with his son.
The witness further described the defendant as a “social drinker” who sometimes left glasses of alcohol around the house unfinished. The defendant asked the witness to go pick up liquor for that evening, which the witness said was not unusual.
The witness also said the defendant “had some mental health issues and other medical issues and took Cymbola, Valium, Adderal, ulcer medications as well as some others.” The witness said the defendant was supposed to take at least some of the medications “daily” but “doesn’t always” do so. The witness further said the defendant had issues with drugs in the past but didn’t exhibit any signs of drug abuse when the witness was in her presence.
A blood report eventually registered some levels of those prescription drugs in the defendant’s system but could not determine “with certainty the level of impairment based on drug levels alone.”
The roommate told the police the boy went outside and began playing “peek a boo” in a series of bushes; the boy’s father went outside after him. Then, the defendant returned home from running errands. The witness’s statement explains:
When I looked out a few moments later I saw her driving the van in the area of the tree swing so I waved to her. Jessica threw her hands up like “who knows” and I got the impression she was saying she didn’t feel any better. She parked the car next to the house and I met her outside in the driveway where we chatted for about 30 seconds. We were talking about how Victim #1 takes off and somebody really needs to watch him which I kind of mocked her about. We walked inside to the kitchen and only a few moments later Witness #1 [the boy’s father] was running down the driveway towards the house shouting “call 911, call 911.” I was tying to figure out what happened but Witness #1 wasn’t saying it clearly so I went to get my phone and called 911. Jessica took off running up the driveway and I didn’t see where Witness #1 went. I called 911 and went up the driveway and as I was going up the driveway I could hear Witness #1 and Jessica and they were both extremely upset but Witness #1 kept repeating “You hit him with the car, You hit him with the car, Why did you hit him with the car.” And Jessica was saying “I didn’t know I hit him, I didn’t know.” It was still hard to understand them because they were both so worked up but they kept repeating phrases like that. I gave 911 as much information as I could and then Jessica and I stayed with Victim #1 while Witness #1 ran up to the street to try and flag down the police or ambulance. The police arrived and I heard Jessica talking to them and she told them that when she got to the flashing light down the street from the house that she started drinking from a Jaegermiester [sic] bottle of alcohol.
The defendant provided her own statement to the police:
Our residence is set back very far from the road and the driveway is long and unpaved. The driveway is shared with our neighbors. Around a 1/4 mile in from the road, there is a dumpster along our driveway. There is a slight turn in the driveway at the dumpster to travel towards our house. The dumpster is less than 100 yds away from our house.
After recounting the evening preceding the accident and the events which preceded it, the defendant continued by describing her journey home after shopping:
I opened the bottle of Jaegermiester [sic] so I could have a drink, mostly because I was thirsty. I was near the yellow flashing light that I believe is at the intersection of RT. 74 and Moose Meadow Rd. I drank around 1/2 to 3/4 of the 1/2 pint bottle of Jaegermiester [sic]. I drank the Jaegermiester [sic] quickly, I didn’t sip on it. It was only a few ounces. I believe I was around 200ft from my driveway when I drank the Jaegermiester [sic]. I turned into our driveway and I began driving towards our house. I was driving very slow because I am a careful driver and there are typically kids or animals running through the driveway. I believe I was driving around 5-10 mph. I noticed that it was odd that there were no kids or animals around as I was driving towards the house. As I neared the slight turn at the dumpster to get to the house, I saw Witness #2 [the roommate] standing in the doorway. Witness #2 waved to me and I waved to her. I parked the car and I talked to Witness #2. I heard Witness #1 yelling for Victim #1 to come back to him. I remember lecturing Witness #2 that this is why they had to keep an eye on Victim #1.
The defendant said she was oblivious to her son’s injury:
Shortly after, I heard Witness #1 yelling outside. Witness #1 yelled “You fucking hit him”. I ran outside and fell onto the driveway. Victim #1 was laying on the ground near the dumpster. I ran up fo Victim #1 and held him in my arms, cleared the blood from his mouth and encouraged him to keep breathing, Witness #2 called 911. My phone fell apart when I fell. I stayed with Victim #1 until the EMTs arrived. I did not see Victim #1 when I was driving. I did not hear a bump and I did not hear him scream or yell. Everything was normal. I had no idea that I might of hit him. I was looking at Witness #2 at the time I was passing the dumpster and her face appeared normal, it didn’t look like she saw anything. Everything seemed normal.
The boy’s father told the state police that he was attempting to find his son when the defendant was pulling up the driveway. He said he didn’t see the apparent impact but was the first to locate the mortally injured boy after the fact:
Witness #1 explained that he saw Victim #1 laying down on the driveway and saw his mini-van parked at the house. Witness #1 explained that he saw Jessica outside of the house talking to Witness #2. Witness #1 explained that it was apparent to him that Victim #1 was seriously hurt and he yelled to Jessica that she hit him and to call 911.
[ . . . ]
Witness #1 explained that Jessica appeared confused when he told her that she hit Victim #1. Witness #1 explained that Jessica has since told him that she is sad that she killed Victim #1 and hopes that he doesn’t hate her.
The boy’s father also said that the minivan the defendant was driving “has a loud exhaust” but that “he never heard it coming.”
Swabs from the “left front quarter panel” of the minivan the defendant was driving tested positive for the boy’s DNA.
An accident reconstruction expert determined that the minivan collided with the boy while the defendant was negotiating a curve to the right in her driveway. The boy was struck by the vehicle’s “left front fender,” the report states. The minivan’s “left front fender was crushed” by the impact. A fiber believed to be one of the boy’s hairs was located clinging to the vehicle near the damaged fender.
The reconstructionist opined that the boy “was located within the center portion of the driveway” when he was struck.
Eventually, the defendant told this version of what occurred — replete with an admission that she wasn’t paying attention:
I remember driving down my driveway, around 10 mph. I share a driveway with my neighbors and I remember being mad and thinking about my neighbor Witness #3 as I passed the house. I was upset with Witness #3 [a neighbor] because of an interaction that she had with Witness #1 [the boy’s father] and Victim #1 [her son], regarding Victim #1 jumping on her trampoline. I remember that Witness#3 was upset because this was when the COVID quarantine was in effect. After I passed Witness #3’s house, I hit a bump in the driveway and some of my groceries and possibly other items that I had on the front passenger seat fell down onto the floor. I looked down at the floor of the car and the groceries/items that fell briefly (just a glance) and picked them up. It took me around five seconds to pick the items up from the floor of the car. The items fell down on the floor in the area of my feet. I don’t know how fast I was driving at this moment. After picking up a few of the items, I realized that it wasn’t that important and focused more on driving and drove home. I saw Witness #2 [the roommate] at the house and I waved to her before I parked the car. I do not remember if I was wearing my seatbelt at the time. I always wore my seat belt growing up, but the last couple years I stopped wearing my seatbelt at all times. I wear my seatbelt all of the time now because our new car beeps really loud. I did not realize that I hit Victim #1 with the car. I remember that a bottle of Jack Daniels is one of the items that fell. I remember that a blue [W]almart bag was holding some of the items that fell out. My cell phone was likely in an area where it was likely to fall, such as the edge of the seat or in the cup holder.
A detective “observed a large bump or rut in the driveway” about 50 feet from where the boy is believed to have been struck. That is presumably what caused the groceries to fall.
Read the full police reports below:
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