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Taco Bell crash: Prison for DUI mom who endangered kids by huffing

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York-area woman has been sentenced to state prison for crashing into the Taco Bell along York's Route 30 corridor after huffing compressed air.

Two of Jessica Frances Winand's three young children were in her SUV at the time, Northern York County Regional Police have said. They escaped injury.

It wasn't the first time she endangered her children by huffing "duster," according to court records.

Winand, 36, of Saddleback Road in West Manchester Township, pleaded guilty Wednesday in York County Court to a felony count of child endangerment and to the misdemeanor of third-offense driving under the influence of a solvent or noxious substance, according to court records.

She was sentenced to 1½ to seven years in state prison and given credit for the 137 days she's already spent in York County Prison on her charges, records state.

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.

Mom 'devastated': Winand was struggling with an addiction and relapsed, according to defense attorney Jon White.

"She's a person who was in dire need of treatment for both mental-health and drug and alcohol issues," he said. "Less than two weeks before this incident, she had intake evaluations for both ... and she had scheduled appointments."

The crash happened before those appointments could take place, White said.

"Luckily her kids were not hurt," the attorney said. "From the first time I spoke with her, she was devastated that her kids were involved in this."

That was one of the biggest factors that drove Winand to recommit to getting healthy and having a relationship with her children, "because they want a relationship with her," White said.

She also was ordered to pay restitution to Taco Bell, complete 150 hours of community service, take parenting classes, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with recommended treatment, court records state.

The background: On Feb. 15, Winand sideswiped a car on Interstate 83 and kept going, then left the highway and headed west on Route 30, according to court documents.

She then crashed into a car immediately before plowing into the Taco Bell at the corner of Route 30 and the Susquehanna Trail, police said. The restaurant closed to indoor dining until repairs were made. No one was hurt, police have said.

Winand and her 3-year-old twin sons were in her Ford Escape at 12:12 p.m. Feb. 15 when her westbound SUV ran a red light at the Susquehanna Trail and struck a southbound vehicle.

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.

Jessica Frances Winand

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

State police also responded to the scene, where they told Northern Regional officers that they believed Winand had struck a highway sign minutes before the Taco Bell crash, court documents state.

"Troopers advised they have had past dealings with Winand, where she would huff duster from a canister," Northern Regional Police Officer Matthew Cicale wrote in court documents. "While speaking with Winand, I noticed she had thick and slow speech. She appeared disoriented and had difficulty remembering the details of the crash."

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

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She was sentenced to five years of intensive probation, with the first six months on house arrest, according to court records.

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 — the 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," court records state.

Jessica Frances Winand

Another huffing case: Winand also was arrested and charged with child endangerment after an April 22, 2019, 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 charge was dropped and Winand eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, court records state.

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.

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