Akron Woman Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter for Causing Multi-Vehicle Crash in Clarence, Killing Another Driver - Erie County
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 38-year-old Jessica A. Novak of Akron pleaded guilty yesterday morning before State Supreme Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek to one count of Manslaughter in the Second Degree (Class “C” felony). The defendant pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charge.
On January 19, 2021, at approximately 12:50 p.m., the defendant was driving at a high-rate of speed, while under the influence of methamphetamine, on Main Street in the Town of Clarence when her vehicle crossed into a turning lane and crashed into another vehicle that was making a left turn onto Goodrich Road. The driver of that vehicle, 65-year-old Jeanette Helms of Clarence, was fatally injured and died at the scene. The defendant was taken to ECMC with various injuries.
The defendant’s reckless actions also caused a chain reaction collision involving two additional vehicles. The drivers of the other two vehicles suffered minor injuries.
Novak faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when she is sentenced on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. She was remanded without bail.
DA Flynn commends the Erie County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. McCarthy of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau.
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