Search papers say driver in mailbox death told police he'd been drinking

PINELLAS PARK — The driver of the truck in which a 20-year-old woman was killed after hitting her head on several mailboxes last week had consumed several cocktails before the incident and smelled of alcohol afterward, according to court documents.

Angela Gaskin died of head trauma at Northside Hospital after she leaned from the passenger window of Karl Norman Jeckel's 2005 Chevrolet Silverado about midnight last Tuesday, striking her head on several mailboxes.

Jeckel, 24, who told police that he, Gaskin and passenger Ashleea Smith had been at an Applebee's and the Down the Hatch bar, could face a DUI manslaughter charge.

According to documents related to a search warrant for his truck, Jeckel told a police officer he consumed "four to five Crown bombs," consisting of 80-proof Crown Royal whisky and an energy drink, before driving to his home about a mile from the crash site in the 4600 block of Lake Boulevard.

Pinellas Park police officer Benjamin Simpkins also noted that Jeckel displayed "bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, difficulty in completing sentences, fumbling and an odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage." Blood and urine samples were obtained from Jeckel. Results are pending.

A beer bottle was found inside the truck, the search warrant notes.

Jeckel's Colorado driver's license was suspended May 12, 2004, for a driving-under-the-influence charge.

Although eastbound Lake Boulevard is about twice the width of a typical street, Jeckel appears to have struck the white-painted mailboxes at the roadside. According to the search warrant, Simpkins found white paint on the door of the Silverado and black marks on the mailboxes. The exterior of the passenger-side mirror, which was found inside the truck, is black.

"This is all very fishy," said Valerie Gaskin, whose daughter was cremated. "I don't have my daughter anymore. She's sitting in a box in my house, and this story is just not flying with me. This is a bunch of bull."

Police said Jeckel was traveling 30 mph in a 25 mph zone.

The search warrant notes a "significant amount of blood" on the passenger door, window, seat and dashboard.

Search papers say driver in mailbox death told police he'd been drinking 07/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 27, 2009 11:21pm]

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