A charge against an Ocala woman who was caught smiling in her jail booking photo after a three-vehicle crash has been up upgraded to DUI manslaughter.
Angenette Marie Welk, 44, who got married this past Thursday, was arrested again Saturday by the Florida Highway Patrol for her role in the May 10 crash at the intersection of NW 60th Avenue and U.S. Highway 27. The new charge stems from the death of 60-year-old Sandra Clarkston, who was a passenger in a car Welk’s SUV slammed into, a Florida Highway Patrol report says.
Welk was booked into the Marion County jail Saturday at 2:48 p.m. and released at 4:40 p.m. on $30,000 bond. She previously had spent a little more than 11 hours in jail after the crash before being released on $10,000 bond.
Last Wednesday, Welk pleaded not guilty to the original charges. She is due back in Marion County court June 12 for an arraignment hearing on the new charge in front of Judge Jonathan Ohlman.
Court records also show that Welk married 46-year-old Eric John Missett, of Ocala, seven days after the crash in a ceremony performed by Carol Young, pastor of Ocala Community Church of Christ. Missett and Welk had obtained their marriage license three days earlier from the Marion County Clerk’s office. Missett is originally from Massachusetts, while Welk hails from Colorado.
The May 10 crash took place just before noon when Welk’s 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche slammed into the back of a 2017 Hyundai Elantra driven by 18-year-old Shiyanne Kroll, of Seattle. The impact pushed the front of Kroll’s car partially underneath a horse trailer that was being pulled by a 2016 Freightliner semi-truck driven by 65-year-old Kevin McMinn, of Ocala, who wasn’t injured.
Kroll and her passenger, Sandra Clarkston, of Sarasota, were transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center. Clarkson, who turned 60 the day before the crash, died four days later at the hospital.
During the DUI investigation at the crash scene, Welk first told a trooper that she was driving home from a nearby hotel where she had been staying and then said she was trying to get to a friend’s house. Welk also said that “she thought” she was traveling on NW 60th Avenue when the crash occurred, the report says.
Welk told the trooper investigating the crash that she dropped her phone and when she looked up, she was about to collide with Kroll’s sedan.
The trooper noticed that Welk had glossy eyes, slow, slurred and mumbled speech, lethargic movements, Gait Ataxia (lack of voluntary muscle movements) and a moderate odor of alcohol on her breath, the report says.
Welk failed sobriety tests and agreed to give a blood sample, which was taken by a paramedic at the scene. She was transported to the Marion County Jail, where she provided two breath samples showing .172 and .165 blood alcohol content – both twice the legal limit of .08 in Florida.
Welk’s initial booking photo at the Marion County Jail showed her grinning with her head tilted to one side. It quickly caught the attention of websites, television stations and newspapers across the globe. And it caused her attorney to come to her defense a few days after the crash.
Stacy Youmans, of Blanchard, Merriam, Adel & Kirkland, said her client is a “a good-hearted person, a wife, mother and friend who is devastated by what happened.” She added that Welk’s “heart breaks for the Clarkston family.”
Youmans, a Florida native and former prosecutor, has extensive courtroom experience. Her name is probably familiar to Villagers, as she’s also representing Brice Hall, of Weirsdale, who is facing a manslaughter charge in the death of McCall’s Tavern employee Austin Stevens in June 2016.