Grand Island man strikes plea bargain in triple fatality car crash

ST. PAUL – A Grand Island man charged in the deaths of three people and an unborn baby in a car crash last summer has made a plea bargain.

Jessie Scarlett, 35, Grand Island, was charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide of an Unborn Child. He was also charged with three counts of felony Motor Vehicle homicide for the deaths of the three adults.

The fatal accident happened July 10, 2019. Court records indicate Scarlett was driving an eastbound pickup which ran a stop sign at the intersection of Highway 281 and Highway 58 about two miles north of St. Libory. Scarlett’s pickup struck a north-bound pickup killing Eric John, 48 and Tara Roy, 41, both of Dannebrog. A passenger in Scarlett’s pickup, Briana Loveland, 19, Grand Island, was also killed.

Court records show that Tara Roy was pregnant and due to deliver a boy identified in an affidavit as Samuel Lucas. The unborn baby died as a result of the accident.

Scarlett was charged with three counts of felony Motor Vehicle Homicide for the deaths of John, Roy and Loveland.

Now Scarlett has stuck a plea bargain with prosecutors. He pleaded no contest last month to a single count of motor vehicle homicide and no contest to motor vehicle homicide of an unborn baby. Prosecutors agreed to drop two MVH charges related to the two other accident victims. There was no agreement related to sentencing, which is scheduled February 3. He could get up to six years in prison for the two convictions.

Scarlett was arrested July 19, 2019, after his release from CHI-St. Francis hospital in Grand Island. He was injured in the accident and had been hospitalized until the time of his arrest.

The affidavit also refers to drug tests done on Scarlett two days after the accident which came back positive for amphetamines, cannabis and opioids.

A judge ordered Scarlett to provide a chemical dependency evaluation prior to sentencing.