Press "Enter" to skip to content

Woman sentenced in fatal DWI crash that killed Winston-Salem teen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A woman was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to charges related to a fatal 2023 DWI crash in Winston-Salem, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office.


At around 1:11 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2023, officers came to the 6000 block of Bethabara Park Boulevard after getting a report of a crash with injuries.

At the scene, police found two vehicles on the road. The drivers of each vehicle suffered minor injuries and were taken to local hospitals.

Junior Felipe Oliva Lanza, 19, of Winston-Salem, who was a passenger in one of the vehicles, was taken to a local hospital where he later died as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash.

Investigators said at the time that a vehicle was traveling east on Bethabara Park Boulevard while the vehicle that Lanza was a passenger in was traveling west on Bethabara Park Boulevard when, “for unknown reasons,” the vehicle that was going east hit the vehicle Lanza was in head-on.

On Sept. 26, 2023, Janet Jacobo, 33, of Winston-Salem, was charged with felony hit-and-run and driving while impaired in relation to the case.

New information from the DA’s office

The posted speed limit on the “well-lit” stretch of Bethabara Park Boulevard is 35 mph, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office. The 2023 Jeep Wrangler that Jacobo was driving on the night of the crash was going 48 mph five seconds before the crash.

A friend who had spent the evening with Jacobo was driving a short distance behind her on eastbound Bethabara Park Boulevard and saw the crash.

Moments before the crash, Jacobo’s friend called her to say that she had left something at her apartment and should return to pick it up. Jacobo then tried to turn around and moved into the westbound lane where she crashed into the front of the 2007 Toyota Sequoia that Lanza was a passenger in.

The Sequoia was driven by a 16-year-old boy who was following all traffic laws at the time of the crash.

Jacobo’s friend said the pair had recently been at her apartment after going out for dinner where Jacobo had “two tequila-based cocktails.” At the apartment the pair talked for a couple of hours and Jacobo “allegedly ate some popcorn but had nothing else to drink.”

The DA’s office says that the friend’s account of events is consistent with Jacobo’s. Jacobo told investigators that “she felt safe to drive.”

The teen driver of the Sequoia told investigators that he was driving at 30-35 mph when Jacobo suddenly turned directly into his lane, giving him no time to react or avoid the collision. Jacobo allegedly told the teen that “she had seen his vehicle and was very sorry that she had hit him.”

First responders at the scene of the crash noticed an odor of alcohol coming from Jacobo. Blood tests later revealed that she had a BAC of .126 at the time of the crash; which is .046 more than the legal limit of .08 in North Carolina.

Reconstruction of the crash by investigators revealed that Jacobo’s impairment “prevented her from reacting to the otherwise visible Sequoia as she attempted to turn around in the roadway,” and that her actions were the “proximate cause of the crash and Lanza’s subsequent death.”


On Thursday, Jacobo pleaded guilty to felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired in connection to Lanza’s death.

The judge sentenced her to 44-65 months. However, the sentence was suspended for 36 months of supervised probation, in accordance with the relevant statute.

As a condition of Jacobo’s probation, she will serve 13 months in prison, perform 100 hours of community service, obtain a substance abuse assessment and reimburse Lanza’s family for nearly $8,000 of funeral expenses.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply