Prosecutor on wife’s Ogden crash that killed husband: ‘Not an accident, it was intentional’

Crime

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The woman accused of causing a crash that killed her husband in Ogden on July 4th  has pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday.

Jennie Clark, who turned 43-years-old Monday, is facing 11 criminal charges:

  • Two counts of second degree murder
    • 1 count intentional murder, 1 count felony murder
  • Second degree vehicular manslaughter
  • Operating a motor vehicle while impaired, causing death
  • First degree reckless endangerment in the first degree
  • Three counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Driving while ability impaired by drugs
  • Driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs

Clark was indicted on new charges Monday by a Monroe County Grand Jury.

“The additional charge from the grand jury alleges her BAC was over .08,” said prosecutor Amanda Balling. “The allegations in this case are that Mrs. Clark intentionally and deliberately drove her mini van into a telephone pole and in doing so she cause the death of her husband. She is charged with having an utter disregard for the life of her husband and risking the lives of her three daughters who were in the backseat of the car. It’s important to note, this was not an accident, this was an intentional crash. A deliberate act and that is why the grand jury has charged her with depraved indifference to human life and utter disregard; a cold and careless act.”

According to Ogden police officials, Clark was driving her family home early in the morning of July 4 when she crashed into a utility pole along Colby Street. Her husband Matthew Clark, 43, was in the car at the time, as were three children under the age of 15.

Matthew Clark was killed instantly, police said. Jennie Clark, received minor injuries and was briefly hospitalized. The children were not injured and released to family members.

Police say when they responded to the accident on Colby Street, they noticed Jennie Clark seemed intoxicated, so they started an investigation into a DWI case, but it wasn’t until they talked to the couple’s three children that they realized the crash had been caught on video — a reason why Ogden Police Chief Christopher Mears believes a murder charge was warranted.

“Mr. Clark was deceased at the scene and as our officers began an investigation, they noticed that Jennie was showing some signs of intoxication, so they began their investigation for a DWI case,” Mears said.

At that scene, police spoke to the three girls when they learned there was a recording of the moments leading up to, and after the crash.

“I think the girls were scared,” Mears said. “I think they knew something bad was going to happen and I think that’s why one of the girls turned on her cellphone and took a video of what was going on.”

Chief Mears didn’t want to go into the details of what was said on the video, but a felony complaint says Clark was allegedly speeding and arguing with her husband at the time of the crash. 

“It was very shocking, very alarming and really that’s the basis right now for our murder second charge,” Mears said.

The chief says many of those who responded to the crash were volunteers who had families themselves, making it a difficult scene to respond to.

“It was good news to find out that the girls were not injured, but just the fact that the children were placed in that position, is heart-wrenching anyway, it’s very difficult,” Mears said. “And again, most of the people that showed up there are parents, but you just … that makes you work even harder to try to protect them and do the best job that you can so you can see justice served.”

Clark was taken to the Monroe County Jail where bail was set at $200,000 cash, $400,000 bond, and $800,000 insurance bond. She is due back in court October 18 at 10 a.m.

Balling said orders of protection have been issued for Clark’s three daughters, adding that these orders are temporary.

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