Florida Keys

The driver who caused a seven-car crash in Key West was on drugs, police said

Jessica Vanhorn
Jessica Vanhorn Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Ruskin woman who caused a seven-car crash on North Roosevelt Boulevard on Dec. 28 was under the influence of three drugs at the time, according to a police report obtained Wednesday.

Jessica Vanhorn tested negative for alcohol but police determined she had three drugs in her system while driving: THC — the naturally occurring component in marijuana that produces a high — along with some type of a depressant and a stimulant.

Vanhorn was found shaking as if she were cold when police arrested her after she drove a Ford Expedition down U.S. 1 at an excessive speed, the report states.

“I’m sober; I’m not under the influence of nothing,” Vanhorn spontaneously said to the officers, according to the arrest report. Police said her eyes were glassy and bloodshot and her speech shaky. She appeared disheveled, her shirt was on inside out and she had extreme mood swings, police said, “ranging from apologetic to angry.”

Police collected a urine sample and then performed a “Drug Recognition Expert” test on Vanhorn, concluding she was on drugs.

Inside the Expedition, police found “a green leafy” substance, along with a pack of insulin syringes. Vanhorn also had “some type of residue” around one nostril, police said.

Newly appointed Police Chief Sean Brandenburg noticed the erratic driving and tried to stop the driver at about 10 a.m.

Vanhorn was failing to stay in one lane and at one point was driving in the grassy median “still at a high rate of speed,” Brandenburg reported.

Vanhorn struck six vehicles, including a police patrol car, during her wild ride that ended at the busy intersection known as the Triangle that is the island’s only roadway entrance. She caused approximately $75,000 in property damage, police said.

Among the cars she struck was a black SUV in which a family of four were inside.

On Wednesday, Vanhorn remained locked up at the Stock Island Detention Center on $120,000 bond.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.