Crime

She killed an unborn child and maimed his mother. She just started a 30-year sentence.

Jessica Crane as she began her prison sentence Dec. 20
Jessica Crane as she began her prison sentence Dec. 20 Florida Dept. of Corrections

Monday is exactly two years and eight months since drunk paralegal and mother Jessica Crane drove an Infiniti onto a Miramar sidewalk and through expectant mother Michelle James and James’ two children. It was the day before Mother’s Day 2016.

Monday is exactly one month since Crane’s sentencing hearing for leaving the scene of a crash with death and DUI manslaughter.

Tuesday will be exactly three weeks since Crane’s address changed from Broward Main Jail to Florida Women’s Reception Center in Ocala.

Exactly how long Crane will stay there will be affected by several factors, but her scheduled release date is June 2, 2046. She’ll be 69.

Knight James would’ve been 30.

Michelle James was 22 or 23 weeks pregnant with Knight when Crane ran over the family on University Drive just south of Pembroke Road. The Miramar police report said James’ 5-year-old son suffered a broken leg and her 3-year-old daughter got a sprained knee. Court documents say doctors working on James, who was in critical condition, were forced to deliver baby Knight by Caesarean birth.

He died four days after the crash. The toxicology report said Crane, who had two previous DUI convictions, blew a .222 blood alcohol content measurement, almost three times the .08 legal limit.

James barely had to say a word in the sentencing hearing to communicate her suffering. As she used a cane to walk to the witness stand, she carried an urn with Knight’s ashes.

“You nearly took my kids away from me,” James cried on video captured by NBC6. “Those are my life. And you took my boy, my baby boy. And I can never get him back.”

Crane said, “I’m not a monster. I’m not that person. I black out. I don’t even know who that person was that day.”

She was a person who hit a curb as she rambled down University Drive before hitting the James family, then crashed into a median and hit another car after mowing down James and her children. Nine witnesses followed her, using their cars to stop hers and hold her for police. That earned them certificates of appreciation from Miramar Police Chief Dexter Williams for “their selfless and heroic actions.”

She was a person who police say shouted “those f------ Cubans hit me!” after being taken into custody.

She was a person with 30 driving citations in Miami-Dade alone, 14 driver license suspensions for failure to pay fines and two DUI convictions. Crane twice got caught driving on a suspended license and twice avoiding DUI restrictions by using the Infiniti when breath alcohol ignition interlock devices prevented her from driving her car. Prosecutors got her held without bond.

Now, she’s a person known as inmate No. I56381.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

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