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California woman who drove family off cliff was drunk

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[FILE]A woman believed to have intentionally driven her wife and children off a cliff in the US state of California was legally drunk, the local sheriff’s office said.<br />Photo: AFP

A woman believed to have intentionally driven her wife and children off a cliff in the US state of California was legally drunk, the local sheriff’s office said.

A vehicle owned by the couple — Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both 38 — was found at the bottom of a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in California’s Mendocino County on March 26.

Their bodies and those of three of their children — Markis, 19, Jeremiah, 14, and Abigail, 14 — were recovered, while their other three children — Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, and Sierra, 15 — are missing and feared dead.

“Preliminary results showed Jennifer Hart had a .102 BAC (blood alcohol content),” the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Friday.

“Sarah Hart and two of the children had a positive toxicology finding in their blood for Diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in Benadryl,” it said.

In California, a person is legally drunk if they have a BAC of .08 or higher. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that has a sedative effect.

Sheriff Tom Allman said in a television interview earlier this month that Jennifer Hart “is the woman that we believe was driving the vehicle when it crashed.”

“I’m to the point where I’m no longer calling this an accident, I’m calling it a crime,” Allman told HLN.

The California Highway Patrol has also said the crash is thought to have been intentional.


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