Following the bail release of a Pennsylvania woman who earlier this year bragged on Twitter about being the "best-drunk driver," only to allegedly leave three people dead weeks later, many people have been wondering what the charges look like and the chances of her going to prison. This explainer will delve into the merits of this case.
Jayana Tanae Webb, a 21-year-old resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, allegedly left two officials and a civilian dead after driving while under the influence of alcohol.
This tragedy happened months after Webb bragged about being the "best-drunk driver," which has seen some tweets of hers resurface following this incident. (Webb's Twitter account is now locked)
Webb remained in custody while waiting for a hearing that came with a back-and-forth on her charges, and recently the bail was made.
Her family was slammed for taking to social media to raise funds for her to help contribute towards bail and a Lawyer through Cash App after a GoFundMe page that was opened in her "honor" was shut down.
Let us have a look at what we know so far about what happened the night of the incident, what charges Webb ended up facing and the ramifications of this case:
Here is what happened on that night
Webb was driving southbound on I-95 near milepost 18 near the Stadium Complex, and according to investigators, her blood alcohol concentration was .211%, and she was seen swerving on surveillance video.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Webb had been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving moments before, but officers let her go when they were called to assist a pedestrian on the freeway.
Officers were aiding a guy going on foot when Webb allegedly crashed into them at great speed, killing the two officials and a civilian, a report from 6-ABC said.
Webb told troopers when she was apprehended that she looked down at her phone to see which exit she was taking when she heard a "boom," without realizing what had happened.
That "boom" resulted in the death of two officers, Martin Mack III and Branden Sisca, and a civilian, Reyes Rivera Oliveras, and tweets of Webb bragging about being a good driver while drunk emerged after the incident.
What charges is Webb currently facing
Webb faces many charges that range from reckless driving to driving under the influence, and these consist of manslaughter and homicide too.
In short, the following can be picked:
- Second-degree manslaughter of a law enforcement officer.
- There is involuntary manslaughter.
- Another charge is recklessly endangering another person.
- And summary traffic violations, including failing to drive at a safe speed, careless driving and reckless driving.
A third-degree murder charge was initially dropped by Municipal Court Judge Karen Simmons back in June until it was refiled by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.
- A third-degree murder charge is the least serious form of murder and is only legal in three states in the U.S. It is typically defined as an unintentional killing committed with the intent to cause bodily harm rather than death.
It was later reinstated in August, following sparring between Webb's attorney and the DA over what became the most crucial question relating to Webb's murder charges: whether there was malice.
The DA strongly argues that Webb continued to speed even after the two troopers pulled her over during a traffic stop and told her to drive carefully, demonstrating malice.
What Webb's attorney argued
One witness initially told police that Webb appeared to hit the brakes before fatally striking the three men, Webb's attorney Michael Walker said, despite changing his initial testimony that took place in court before this hearing.
After the hearing that led to Webb making bail, Walker said:
Based on the law, this shouldn't have ever been treated as a murder case. It was an accident. It was an accident. And I'm so happy and hopeful that she'll be able to go home and talk to her family."
Walker had contended in closing arguments that Webb's negligence and recklessness were to blame for this fatal crash.
The attorney strongly argued that his client was very young, a first-time offender and posed no danger to the public.
According to online court records, Webb posted 10% of her $600,000 bail. This after the judge set Webb's bail at $200,000 for each person killed in the crash, and this pushed the total to $600,000.
What Webb pleaded
Last week Wednesday, Webb appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to charges that have been filed against her.
According to her attorney, Wednesday's appearance was a pre-trial hearing in which the prosecution laid out all of their discovery and set a date to reconvene to set a trial date.
Her attorney, Walker, said:
I don't think anything has changed in how she's feeling. It's getting harder and harder to answer that question. She's accused of killing three people. So it's a rough time for her and her family. It's certainly a rough time for the families of those who perished. It's a tragedy all the way around".
Webb is out on bail, and while no official date for her trial has been set, the judge said it will most likely be in late 2023.
She will face trial and spend decades in prison if convicted for the deaths of troopers Martin Mack III and Branden Sisca and pedestrian Reyes Rivera Oliveras.
- Your support affords me the time and resources to produce robust and in-depth journalism that matters. You can continue to do so by making a contribution.