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Nanny Jailed for DUI Crash of Vehicle Carrying Toddlers

August 2, 2016

Contact: Thomas Gannon, 215.348.6461, tcgannon@buckscounty.org

A drug-addicted nanny who was impaired by Xanax when she crashed an SUV carrying 2-year-old twins was sentenced this morning to serve six to 23 months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

Jacqueline Carroll, 26, of Warrington, pleaded guilty May 4 in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to driving under the influence of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of children, both first-degree misdemeanors.

On Aug. 24, 2015, Carroll drove her new Jeep Grand Cherokee through a t-intersection and into an embankment while exiting a development in Warwick Township where the children’s family lived. Riding in the rear seat were twin boys, age 2, for whom Carroll served as a full-time nanny.

The impact heavily damaged the Jeep and caused its air bags to deploy. Carroll was uninjured, and the toddlers suffered only abrasions on their necks and shoulders from their car-seat restraints.

Blood tests showed that Carroll had a significant level of non-prescribed Xanax in her system. Additionally, the children’s father later discovered a clutch bag containing cocaine and syringes hidden under the padding of one of the toddlers’ car seats.

For 10 months, Carroll had been working as a nanny for the toddlers and their 5-year-old brother. The parents checked Carroll’s background before hiring her, finding no criminal history and a clean driving record. But Carroll never told them that she had struggled with drug addiction since she was 17, and had been in drug rehabilitation programs six times.

“Both my husband and I have advanced degrees and consider ourselves cautious and vigilant,” the children’s mother told Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. in court. “We were completely fooled and it almost cost us our children’s lives. I fear for other families like us.”

The day after the crash, the mother told Bateman, Carroll posted another advertisement for her nanny services on two childcare web sites. The woman said she contacted both companies and convinced them to remove Carroll’s listing.

“Someone needs to tell you enough is enough. You can’t continue to live your life this way,” Bateman told Carroll. “And I suppose that person needs to be me.”

Bateman sentenced Carroll to serve 72 hours to 48 months in jail for the DUI, plus a $2,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. He sentenced her to a concurrent six to 23 months for the child-endangerment charges.

Bateman refused to recommend that Carroll, who said she is pregnant with her first child, to serve any of her sentence outside of prison on work release. “Perhaps in a few months, when you become a parent, you will understand the anguish that you put these parents through,” the judge said.

The children’s mother said police called her workplace, an hour away, to tell her of the crash. While being driven to St. Mary Medical Center, she said, she contacted Carroll’s mother, who “informed me that Jacque had a drug problem and had been in recovery for about two years. She felt Jacque was not ‘right’ that morning and suspected she used drugs. There are no words to describe that conversation. I was in disbelief.”

Until then, the mother said, she and her husband had been fooled into thinking that Carroll was taking excellent care of their children. “She was easygoing, reliable and loving,” she said, and kept a journal for the parents listing details of the children’s daily meals and activities, such as trips to playgrounds, the library, music classes and gym classes.

In truth, the mother said, Carroll never took the toddlers to the gym classes, and had stopped going to music classes three to four months before the accident. She pocketed the extra money she had been given by the parents to pay for the classes.

“I became outraged and disgusted, thinking of what she must have been doing with my children all day,” the mother said. “She had completely manipulated our children into saying they were at `gym’ and/or `music.’ Was she on drugs from the beginning or did she just relapse? Was she using drugs in front of them? Was she buying drugs with them in tow? Where was she taking them during the day?”

Carroll apologized to the mother in court, but denied ever using drugs in front of the children or purchasing drugs while with them.

“Sorry doesn’t say enough for the things that happened,” she said. “Now being pregnant (with) my own child, I do understand how you feel. This has changed my life.”

Carroll said that she had struggled to stay clean since she started to abuse drugs as a teen. She claimed to have relapsed only one week prior to the accident, and said that she had taken the Xanax only once.

Carroll told Bateman that she had taken no illicit drugs since the accident, has passed all drug tests while on pre-trial supervision, and has found fulltime employment in sales with a local auto dealer.

“I think her level of remorse is sincere,” defense attorney Ellis Klein said. “She has done everything she needs to do to overcome her drug addiction.”

Deputy District Attorney Thomas Gannon disputed Carroll’s claim that her crimes grew from a one-time relapse. He noted that she had deceived the children’s parents about attending gym and music classes for three to four months, effectively stealing from them during that time.

Gannon said that Carroll had lied to the parents about her background when hired, and had initially lied to police about the type of drugs she had used prior to the accident. Police said she later tried to blame the cocaine found in the car seat on a friend.

“I am troubled by the fact that you have been dishonest throughout this,” Bateman said after Carroll professed to care deeply for the children she had endangered.

“I don’t believe it, and I think someone needs to tell you that,” the judge said. “You drove around in a vehicle, high on drugs, with two toddlers inside.”

Approved for release by Robert James, Deputy District Attorney.

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Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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