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Woman, 24, arrested after deadly police chase has history of alcohol abuse and trauma

A Florida woman who was arrested after an 111 mph police chase that led to a deadly crash has a history of trauma and alcohol abuse -  and was on probation for another deadly wreck when she was a teen, it has been revealed.

Jennifer Carvajal, 24, was arrested on April 25 after a Highway Patrol trooper recorded the car she was allegedly driving tearing down the road at 111 mph on a highway near Tampa.

When the trooper tried to pull her over, Carvajal made a hard right turn that sent the Hyundai Elantra down an embankment before going airborne and hitting a concrete light pole and a palm tree. It then overturned in the parking lot of a car dealership. 

Carvajal's cousin Pedro Carbajal, 22, was killed when he was ejected from the back seat of the car. Pedro's girlfriend Lexcia Gonzalez, 20, was also ejected from the back seat and broke both of her legs. A front seat passenger, 19-year-old Grady Ramirez, had 'incapacitating' injuries.

When asked by the trooper was was driving the car, Gonzalez pointed to Carvajal - who denied she was the driver, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The car was registered to Gonzalez.

Now, the outlet has revealed some of the tragic backstory of the woman detailing the abuse she suffered as a child and the other wrong turns she has made.

Jennifer Carvajal, 24, was arrested following the crash along a highway near Interstate 4 in Tampa, Florida on Sunday that killed one of her passengers

Carvajal, born in Tampa in 1997, the second-oldest child in a family of five children and she has recalled, through court and police records obtained by the outlet, living with an alcoholic, drug-dealer dad and a mom who once left her children for a week.

Several men in her family started sexually abusing her when she was just 6 years old - which was not discovered until she was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease when she was 9 years old, according to court testimony.

Her own father was arrested when she was 11 for raping an older female relative and spent five years in prison before he was deported to Mexico, the Tampa Bay Times revealed.

When she was 12, Carvajal started smoking weed and was smoking and drinking regularly by 15 - and was hospitalized for two suicide attempts, according to court records obtained by the outlet.

She has been charged with reckless driving involving a serious injury, DUI involving a serious injury, DUI manslaughter, driving without a license and multiple counts of DUI property damage

Around 6.30am on February 5, 2014. Carvajal was speeding down Alexander Street at 55 mph in a gold Lincoln Navigator with her headlights were off when she tore through a red light and plowed into a black Toyota Echo.

The Toyota was being driven by a newspaper deliveryman, 52-year-old Keith Allen Davis, and was smashed into a concrete divider.

Carvajal, who was then 16 years old, told a bystander that she had just received her learner's permit and didn't have insurance, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

'I am sorry, it was my fault,' Carvajal said as Davis lied on the ground bleeding and unconscious. 

Davis was taken a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Cops found an empty can of Four Loko, a cheap malt liquor favored by young partygoers, with an empty beer can and an empty bottle of Patron tequila, the outlet reported. Her blood content was measured at .13 - above the legal limit of .08.

Carvajal pleaded no contest to charges of DUI manslaughter in an adult court and faced sentencing after she turned 18 years old.

During her trial, she begged for forgiveness and told the court she felt 'lost and broken' and that she drank to forget her past trauma instead instead of seeking help, the outlet reported.

'Now I have no choice but to face reality. Reality is that my actions caused a lot of people pain,' Carvajal said at the time, according to court records. 

'If there was a way, I wouldn't hesitate to ask for God to take me instead.'

Valerie McClain, a forensic psychologist, testified before Judge Thomas Barber that Carvajal 'showed signs of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,' the Tampa Bay Times reported.

McClain recommended that her sentence for Davis' death include a minimum of one year receiving substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Friends of Davis told the court that her hard life was 'still not an excuse' for her drunken driving and the resulting manslaughter. 

'When you make a decision to drive with no driver's license — making a decision to drink and drive — those are adult decisions,' Toby Stogner, a friend of Davis, told the court.

Carvajal was clocked driving at 111 mph when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper started pursuing her and tried to overtake to pull her over

Dramatic dashcam video captured the moment Carvajal made a hard right turn that sent her Hyundai Elantra onto the road's shoulder and down an embankment before going airborne

The judge sentenced Carvajal to five years in prison with five years of probation, requiring her to enroll in a residential treatment program, according to the outlet. 

'The bottom line to me ... is regardless of a person's life circumstances, you can't kill another person and not receive some punishment,' the judge said.

She was also ordered to pay $8,068 for funeral expenses to Davis' longtime girlfriend and was permanently banned from ever holding a driver's license. Records show that she never paid the restitution.

While in prison, Carvajal was disciplined multiple times for refusing to work, fighting, disrespecting officials and 'sex acts,' according to corrections records reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times. 

Carvajal was released from prison in October 2019 and she snagged a job with a cleaning company before later working at a Dunkin' Donuts, the outlet reported.

As a part of her probation, Carvajal enrolled at residential substance-abuse treatment program in Tampa called DACCO, according to the outlet. 

However, she received a warning from the program for 'appearing to be in a relationship with a peer' - which is a violation of the terms of her probation - on May 5, 2020. Carvajal fled the facility and was back in jail by May 21.

She appeared in court again in July before Judge Nick Nazaretian, who stressed to Carvajal how serious her crime when she was 16 had been.

'She killed somebody because she drank alcohol,' the judge said. 

He added: 'If that was me, it would haunt me forever. And she needs to appreciate and make sure she does what she's supposed to do. Because the other hammer, which is going to be a lot more than five years, could drop in the future.'

Carvajal's public defender noted in that court appearance that Carvajal had completed a three-month treatment program while in prison, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

'I'm not big on lectures today, but this is so serious, what happened, you can't make it worse, okay?' the judge said. 

'You've already spent five years of your life in prison. You don't want to spend another day there.'

The judge gave her a new five-year probation term with the same requirements forbidding her from using drugs and alcohol or driving - and again required that she complete substance-abuse treatment.

He also imposed a curfew that required Carvajal to be home between the hours of 10pm and 6am, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Carvajal completed her substance-abuse treatment on March 10 - just six weeks before the fatal accident that killed her cousin.

When a trooper interviewed Carvajal at the hospital, he noted that her speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol. 

During a medical test, her blood-alcohol content registered at .10 - just over the legal limit and the results of a second test remain pending.

She now faced up to 40 years in prison if convicted of all charges and is due back in court on Monday.

'This is the second person that has lost their life at the hands of this offender and her actions continue to display a disregard for the public at large that should be alarming to all parties,' state probation officer Trevor Bethea wrote in a probation violation report. 

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