Taco Bell crash: Not first time mom has been accused of endangering kids by huffing

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
An SUV driven by Jessica Winand crashed into the Taco Bell in Manchester Township just after noon on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, according to Northern Regional Police, who allege Winand was huffing a canister of compressed air before crashing with her two 3-year-old sons in her SUV.

The mother who crashed into Taco Bell along York's Route 30 corridor at lunchtime Saturday had been inhaling a canister of compressed air while driving with her two young sons in her SUV, police allege.

It's not the first time police have accused Jessica Frances Winand of endangering her children by huffing "duster," court records reveal.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, Winand sideswiped a car on Interstate 83 and kept going, then left the highway and headed west on Route 30, according to charging documents filed by Northern York County Regional Police.

She then crashed into a car immediately before plowing into the Taco Bell at the corner of Route 30 and the Susquehanna Trail, according to police. At this point, only the restaurant's drive-through is open while repairs are being made.

Winand, 36, of the 1200 block of Saddleback Road in West Manchester Township, remains in York County Prison on $5,000 bail, charged with two counts of child endangerment and one count each of driving under the influence of a noxious substance/fourth or subsequent offense and DUI/impaired ability/fourth offense. All those charges are felonies, according to charging documents.

She also is charged with the misdemeanors of tampering with physical evidence and possessing a solvent for the purpose of releasing toxic vapors, as well as the summaries of running a red light and careless driving.

No one was hurt in the Taco Bell crash, Northern Regional Police Chief Dave Lash said.

The allegations: According to charging documents, Winand and her 3-year-old twin sons were in her Ford Escape at 12:12 p.m. Saturday when her westbound SUV ran a red light at the Susquehanna Trail and struck a southbound vehicle.

Jessica Frances Winand

After hitting that vehicle, Winand's SUV went off Route 30 and crashed into the front of Taco Bell, police said.

Responding officers checked Taco Bell's ladies room after witnesses reported seeing Winand go in there after the crash.

Officers found a 12-ounce can of Blow Off Duster under a trash bag in the bathroom and seized it, according to police.

Winand told officers she'd stopped huffing duster and initially claimed the can wasn't hers, but she eventually admitted it was hers and that she hid it "because it was going to make her look bad," charging documents state.

State police also responded to the scene, where they told Northern Regional officers that they believe Winand is responsible for a hit-and-run crash on I-83 just minutes before the Taco Bell incident, according to documents.

Hit a sign? Winand also is suspected of striking a state Department of Transportation sign on I-83 in York Township in the minutes before the Taco Bell crash, according to police.

"Troopers advised they have had past dealings with Winand, where she would huff duster from a canister," documents state.

Police allege she was huffing duster before crashing into the Taco Bell and noted in charging documents that she appeared to be intoxicated.

"While speaking with Winand, I noticed she had thick and slow speech," Officer Matthew Cicale wrote in those documents. "She appeared disoriented and had difficulty remembering the details of the crash. ... I questioned Winand about drug use, and she denied taking anything."

Results are not yet in for a blood sample taken from Winand, documents indicate.

Guilty plea: Winand, formerly of West Broadway in Red Lion, pleaded guilty to felony child endangerment in York County Court on Feb. 11 — four days before the Taco Bell crash.

Jessica Frances Winand

She pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment and was sentenced to five years of intensive probation, with the first six months on house arrest, according to court records, which state she must take parenting classes and undergo outpatient drug and alcohol treatment.

In that case, state troopers found Winand semi-conscious behind the wheel of her car on Oct. 7, parked behind her former West Broadway home, police said.

Court documents indicate Winand "was confused with a dazed appearance ... and slow speech," and that she admitted to huffing duster while her sons — 3-year-old twins and a 6-year-old — were inside her home.

"She stated that her children were acting up and she needed to get away, so she went out to her car to get high," documents state.

Another huffing case: Winand also was arrested and charged with child endangerment after an April 22 incident at her former West Broadway home.

State police said she was passed out on the floor and incoherent from huffing chemicals that day, despite the fact that she was the sole caregiver at the time for her three sons, according to court documents.

In that case, the felony child-endangerment was dropped and Winand eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, court records state.

Two DUIs: In December 2015, she was charged with an alcohol-related DUI, and in August 2015 she was charged with a duster-related DUI, court records state.

It is unclear if she has retained an attorney in her most recent criminal case.

Winand can't be released even if she posts bail, because there are two probation-violation detainers lodged against her, which accuse her of violating her probation conditions in two older criminal cases.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.