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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Teen Pleads Guilty in Crash that Killed 3 Bellbrook Girls

BELLBROOK -- The teen who is accused of driving a vehicle involved in a crash that killed three Bellbrook girls pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to charges related to the crash.

Jesse Whittaker was 17 at the time of the crash in November 2012. Wednesday's plea includes three counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular manslaughter and two other counts of misdemeanor traffic violations.

The crash killed 17-year-old Sophie Kerrigan, 16-year-old Skylar Kooken and 14-year-old Juliana Hawk. The girls were Bellbrook High School students.

In the courtroom Wednesday, Lisa Sikorski, Julianna Hawk's aunt, said she is trying to forgive Whittaker. 

"I think it was very giving of Jesse to plead guilty and not put the family through a trial," Sikorski said.  "I think that was very generous of him."

Julianna's aunt Lisa Sikorski, says she is trying to find probable cause to prove that Whittaker was under the influence. She says Sugarcreek Township Police should have tested Whittaker for drugs and alcohol the night of the crash, but it didn't happen, even though there was paraphernalia found in the car.

"I know he's going to suffer for the rest of his life just like we all are and I don't want that to happen to him but on the other hand there has to be some consequences," Sikorski said. 

"Community service. I'd like to see him talk to schools so he could help prevent this from happening to other children. He could stop this from happening to other families so they don't go through the hell we went through."

The sentencing date hasn't been set, but the judge made it clear to Whittaker all those options are on the table along with almost a year of jail time,  fines, and a license suspension.

While this case has been tough on the victims' families it's also been tough on Whitaker himself. While in court Wednesday he didn't say a lot but appeared very sorrowful. His lawyer says he can't even talk about this case without crying.

"There's no kind of pain that can compare to what the family is going through but it's also been a very difficult process for him," said Mark Babb, Whittaker's attorney. "I can tell you that he's never came to my office and not sobbed openly when talking about the case. He's heartsick."

"It's very controversial just because there's a lot of questions around what happened and not knowing all the details, but the bottom line was such lives were taken so early," said Retired Belbrook teacher Cynthia Heil. "I'm sure he lives with it every day. I imagine he'll take whatever punishment he's given because it's not going to go away in his mind."
Whittaker pleaded not guilty in October.



Earlier coverage:

BELLBROOK -- The teen who is accused of driving a vehicle involved in a crash that killed three Bellbrook girls pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to charges related to the crash.

Jesse Whittaker was 17 at the time of the crash in November 2012. Wednesday's plea includes three counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular manslaughter and two other counts of misdemeanor traffic violations.

The crash killed 17-year-old Sophie Kerrigan, 16-year-old Skylar Kooken and 14-year-old Juliana Hawk. The girls were Bellbrook High School students.

Today in the courtroom, Lisa Sikorski, Juliana Hawk's aunt, said she is trying to forgive Whittaker. She told ABC 22/FOX 45 that she went to Whittaker's home a few days after the crash, but hasn't spoken to him since then.

"Let's forgive him," Sikorski said. "Maybe suspend his license." She said she doesn't want him to suffer any more.

Check back for the latest from today's court hearing.



Previous coverage:

Fighting For Answers in Fatal Crash that Killed Three Bellbrook High School Girls

BELLBROOK -- A Bellbrook teen will be in court Tuesday for a deadly crash.

The teen was the driver in the accident that killed three Bellbrook High School girls.

Juliana Hawk was one of those girls killed last November, and now, her aunt is continuing the quest to know what happened the night she was killed.

"We're gonna keep banging on doors until somebody answers what we want," said Lisa Sikorski, Juliana Hawk's aunt.

And she's been banging on everyone's doors, including Ohio's Attorney General Mike Dewine's.

"We have asked the prosecutor to invite him in twice now and he has refused both times," Sikorski said.

The crash killed 17-year-old Sophie Kerrigan, 16-year-old Skylar Kooken and Sikorski's 14-year-old niece, Juliana Hawk.

Sikorski says Sugarcreek Township Police should have tested the then-17-year-old driver Jesse Whittaker for drugs and alcohol the night of the crash, but it didn't happen.

"If they messed up that night, that's fine, just tell us that's what happened," said Sikorski.

Now that she knows the driver of the truck can't be charged as an adult, and wasn't tested for drugs or alcohol.

She's just hoping she can learn the truth about what happened.

"Just for the peace and comfort," she said. "I just want the answers, and I think we are owed that, I mean we have three girls that are gone, and I think we are owed that much to know what happened that night.

Whittaker's appearance Tuesday in juvenile court is a closed meeting.

Lisa says she also reached out to the Ohio Governor's Office and a State Senator's Office for help.

She says after the case is over, she plans on filing a formal complaint against the Sugarcreek Township Police Department.

Connect with ABC 22/FOX 45 Reporter Wale Aliyu on Facebook and Twitter.

 
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