Prosecutor: Mom with 5 teens in car was drinking vodka before fatal wreck

Posted at 2:00 PM, Nov 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 18:22:31-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Henrico judge found a mother guilty in connection with the death of her friend's daughter over Spring Break.

Keia Mona Hewlett, 36, entered an Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter for the death of 14-year-old Dajanae White. She pleaded guilty to five counts of felony child abuse and to driving under the influence.

An Alford Plea means Hewlett understood there was enough evidence to convict her of the crime, however she did not admit guilt.

A felony homicide charge and a drug possession charge were nolle prossed as part of a plea agreement.

Keia Mona Hewlett

Keia Mona Hewlett

Hewlett was intoxicated when the vehicle she was driving ran off Darbytown Road and flipped multiple times at 4 a.m. April 13, according to police.

Dajanae was one of five teenagers, including Hewlett's three children and nephew, inside the car when it crashed.

Hewlett was drinking vodka and partying at her sister's house on Jennie Scher Road prior to the crash, a prosecutor said in Henrico Circuit Court Thursday morning. He described the house as a "chaotic, party atmosphere."

The wreck

The wreck

The prosecutor said Hewlett became angry when her daughter wanted to leave and return home.

Hewlett was driving the children to her home in an "aggressive manner," according to the testimony.

Dajanae called her mother, Latarsha White, from the backseat. She heard the crash happen before the phone disconnected.

Dajanae and three children were unrestrained and ejected in the single-vehicle crash.

Dajanae White

Dajanae White

White died at the scene from blunt force trauma to the head and chest. The other occupants were taken to VCU Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The prosecution said Hewlett's B.A.C. taken from a blood sample at the hospital was found to be .12, which is over the legal limit.

Hewlett's defense attorney, Craig Cooley, said his client swerved off the road when she saw two headlights in both lanes of traffic coming toward her direction.

The defendant will be sentenced on January 31.

'She was my everything'

The devastated Henrico mother said she will miss her daughter climbing in bed, her little girl’s infectious smile and her dreams of making her mom and dad proud.

"She was an awesome child,” Latarsha White said through tears. “She never gave me problems. She was my protector when I cried. She was my everything."

The family's world was rocked by the tragic news and White says Dajanae's father is also heartbroken.  She said he and his daughter were very close.

She was the only child on both sides of their families.

Her mother said Dajanae, a Highland Springs High School student, had big dreams: "My baby wanted to be a doctor," she said.



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