A Boonville woman whose vehicle was hit head-on by an alleged drunk driver in mid-December reportedly admitted to police that she had smoked marijuana the day before the crash that resulted in the death of her friend, 15-year-old Skylar Robinson-Williamson. Whitney Winstead, 20, has been charged with one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a schedule 1 or schedule II controlled substance or its metabolite in the body.
Winstead was driving on Indiana 62 near Stevenson Station Road in the early morning hours of December 17th. Inside the car were Megan Ripperdan in the backsteat and Robinson-Williamson who was in the front passenger seat. According to court records, Osiel Marroquin, 18, was allegedly driving drunk and traveling west in the eastbound lanes, colliding head-on with Winstead.
Robinson-Williamson was pronounced dead at the scene. Ripperdan remains in the hospital with serious injuries. Marroquin has been charged with three felonies, including reckless homicide. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on Marroquin, according to court records.
On December 27th, Winstead was booked in the Warrick County jail and quickly posted bond. A woman identifying herself as Winstead's mother did not want to comment when she was reached on Tuesday.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Winstead initially denied drinking alcohol or using any illegal drugs in her first interview with detectives on December 19th. After obtaining a search warrant, authorities sifted through Winstead's vehicle and found a package of cigarillos in the passenger compartment, according to the affidavit. The package contained tobacco and an empty, clear plastic baggy, deputies said.
"I know from my training and experience as a law enforcement officer that people who smoke marijuana commonly strip cigars and cigarillos of their tobacco and fill the hollowed car/cigarillo with marijuana and smoke it," the detective wrote in the affidavit.
In a follow up interview on December 21st, Winstead stated that she smoke marijuana on December 16th -- the day before the crash -- before going to the mall, according to the affidavit. Winstead reportedly stated that the marijuana made her feel 'different' for an hour or two after smoking it.
Marroquin made another court appearance on Tuesday afternoon. A large contingent of family and friends of Robinson-Williamson and Ripperdan filled the first few rows of the gallery. Marroquin has pleaded not guilty and will next appear in court in late February.
While he remains in the Warrick County jail, the twisted remains of the vehicle he was driving on the day of the crash remains at Brad's Towing in Boonville.
Dispatcher Laura Martin painfully recalls the night both vehicles were brought in.
"I had to come down here so they could put it in the inside storage. When I saw the cars, my heart went down to my feet. I just lost it," Martin said. "It's hard coming in and knowing that a child lost their life. It's very heartbreaking."
Martin, who's a mother herself, said the accident has had a profound impact on the citizens of Warrick County. Because Marroquin's vehicle remains on the lot of her employer, she's constantly reminded of what happened on December 17th. Martin's daughter was friends with Robinson-Williamson, she said.
"From what my friends and my daughter said, she was a free spirit," Martin said. "No mother should have to go through what her mother is going through right now. Even though it wasn't my child, I still feel it. I can still feel it."
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