Mom High on Drugs in Crash That Killed Daughter, Nephew, Others: Police

The mother who crashed head-on into another car on Labor Day Weekend -- a crash that killed her own daughter and nephew -- was allegedly high at the time.

Kathleen Douglas, of Kane in Northwestern Pennsylvania, was jailed Tuesday on charges she was under the influence of prescription medicine when she crashed head-on into another vehicle along a forest road.

The Bradford Era reports Douglas, 37, was arraigned Wednesday on six counts of homicide by vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. Police say Douglas had levels of Clonazepam in her blood "several times greater" than should have been there given the dosage she was prescribed. The drug is used to treat a variety of conditions ranging from epilepsy to panic disorder.

Police say Doulas' sport utility vehicle crossed the center line and hit an approaching sedan in Allegheny National Forest, killing 6-year-old Jarrett Costanzo and 12-year-old Olivia Douglas and injuring Douglas and her 10-year-old son, all in the SUV, state police said.

Also killed in the crash were four adults in the sedan, including a husband and wife, all from St. Marys, just southeast of the forest.

Douglas was seriously injured in the August 2 crash and wasn't charged until Oct. 11 because she recovering from serious injuries. She was sent to jail unable to post $750,000 bail on 34 counts including the homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, DUI, reckless endangerment and more, according to court records.

Court records don't list an attorney for her.

St. Marys resident Stephanie Renwick, who lives across the street from two people killed in the sedan, driver Gary Beimel and his wife, Elaine Beimel, said they would be "very greatly missed."

"They were wonderful people,'' she said. "They were good friends and wonderful neighbors.''

Renwick, whose husband had worked with Gary Beimel, said the Beimels had a large family and were very family-oriented.

"They have two young children who recently married,'' she said. "I have three young children, and they were always wonderful to them.''

The crash, which occurred about 120 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, also killed sedan passengers David Cuneo and Florence Donachy.

More than 300 people attended a candlelight vigil for the victims on Sunday at the Kane Area Middle School football field, The Bradford Era reported. Many in the crowd wore football jerseys and cheerleader outfits from the Kane Tornadoes youth football team and the Kane Wolves.

Olivia Douglas, a cheerleader for the Tornadoes, was described as a vibrant girl with many friends remembered for her smile and giggle as well as her hard work and dedication, the newspaper said.

Jarrett Costanzo, a student at Kane Area Elementary School, was remembered as a sports enthusiast and fierce competitor on the wrestling, football and Little League baseball teams. An obituary in the newspaper said he could often be seen on the sidelines because he loved to watch his older brothers play football.

"Jarrett's smile could light up a room and he brought happiness to all those who knew him and even those who didn't!'' the notice said.

Wrestling coach John Nystrom said Jarrett was willing to compete against people several times his size and sometimes succeeded in taking down bigger opponents. Nystrom told the newspaper that the 6-year-old would take him down during practice and then say, "Get up, Coach!''

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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