Mother who intentionally drove family off cliff was drunk, police say

iStock/Thinkstock(MENDOCINO, Calif.) — The mother who intentionally drove her family off a cliff in Northern California in late March was drunk, according to preliminary toxicology reports.

The California Highway Patrol said on Friday that Jennifer Hart, who was driving the SUV that plunged off the cliff in Mendocino County on March 26 carrying her wife and six children, had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

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

All eight people in the vehicle are presumed dead in the accident, according to authorities. Three of the children were missing, though the body of a girl believed to be one of the missing children was found near the site of the accident last week. The body has yet to be identified.

One of the children missing is 15-year-old Devonte Hart, whose photo hugging a police officer with tears streaming down his face during a protest went viral in 2014.

Initially ruled an accident, the CHP said on April 1, after a preliminary investigation, that the crash now appeared intentional. No skid marks were found on the road at the spot it plunged over the edge, and police said the brakes were never applied after leaving a gravel pull-out spot alongside Highway 1.

The CHP said on Friday that nobody in the SUV was wearing a seat belt when the car went over the cliff.

Police also said the FBI was sending its Behavioral Analysis Unit to study cellphone data recovered from one of the family members’ phones showing the Hart family’s travel information.

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