Clinton County prosecutors have filed a charge of reckless homicide against a Beckemeyer woman who ran over and killed her toddler in August, alleging she was high on meth at the time.
Nicole Voss, 36, is facing four counts of aggravated DUI and one count of reckless homicide in the death of her 2-year-old son, Jensen Voss. In addition, she faces a charge of driving with revoked license.
The charges filed Wednesday allege Nicole Voss had meth in her system at the time of the child's death. A friend, Charlotte Revell, told police she believed Voss had developed a meth addiction and that Voss had been awake for seven days straight prior to the child's death.
Another witness who was present, Michael Krummel, told police that Voss, upon getting out of the vehicle and seeing that she had run over the child, did not immediately rush to give him aid. Instead, Krummel said, she went back to the vehicle and retrieved a plastic bag, which she then hid.
Voss' bail in the new case was set at $250,000. However, she was in St. Clair County custody Wednesday afternoon on an unrelated meth charge.
Investigators said her son was in the SUV parked in a Keyesport driveway on Aug. 7 when he apparently climbed out as Nicole Voss was getting ready to drive the vehicle. The mother did not realize her son wasn’t in the vehicle and began to drive away, striking and killing the child.
Police reports obtained by the News-Democrat through an open-records request state that investigators saw bruising on the child's body that appeared to be caused by the tire of the vehicle.
Jensen Voss died in the driveway of a Keyesport man who was facing two pending meth charges. In an interview in the days following the boy's death, the resident, Ryan Rensing, told the BND there were no drugs being done at his home when Nicole Voss was there. He said she was at his home with a mutual friend.
A police report noted that Rensing walked away from his home as first responders arrived and was later found by officers at a pavilion near the Keyesport boat ramp.
Rensing told police in an interview that he got to his home at about noon on the day of Jensen Voss' death and that Nicole Voss and another woman were already at his house.
Rensing told police he fell asleep shortly after getting home and did not wake up until he heard the women screaming after Jensen Voss was run over.
Revell, Nicole Voss' friend, was also interviewed after the child's death. She was at the home with Nicole Voss and said they were trying to get meth from Rensing, but he did not have any. She told police that before the accident happened, Nicole Voss had changed the diaper of her youngest child — later identified in a police report as Brayden — and that Revell had walked over to a trash can to throw away the diaper.
"After she disposed of the diaper of the youngest child, she turned back towards the vehicle," police wrote in a report. "She saw Nicky (Voss) moving the vehicle forward. After the vehicle moved forward, Charlotte saw the small boy laying in the rocks."
Revell told police she did not see the car run over the boy, but she said Nicole Voss stopped the car, got out and told Revell she thought she had run over something.
"Charlotte said Nicky (Voss) then saw the child and began screaming," police wrote.
Revell said the women started chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Jensen. She also noted that she did not see Nicole Voss do any drugs while they were at the Keyesport home.
About 11 days after the boy's death, officers interviewed Krummel, who was in custody on unrelated charges and had witnessed the accident. Krummel told police he and his wife were there the day Jensen Voss was run over.
He said he played with Jensen Voss outside shortly before he was run over. Krummel told police that his wife changed the younger one's diaper in the front seat shortly before Nicole Voss and Revell planned to leave.
During all this, Krummel said, Jensen Voss got out of the car and dropped a toy truck under the car and went under to retrieve it.
That was when, according to Krummel, Nicole Voss drove over the child. But Krummel said before going over to the child, Nicole Voss got back into the car, rummaged around and went to hide a plastic sandwich bag before attending to the child and calling 911.
"She got out and closed the door first, before she got to him," Krummel told Detective Todd Timmermann. "She looked at him, realized something, she went back in the vehicle and I guesss she stashed her drugs, or whatever she had, in a box out there on Ryan's property. Came back and went ahead and called 911."
Timmermann asked, "So basically, she runs him over, gets out, looks down, doesn't go to tend to him, goes back into the vehicle, closes the door, does whatever she does ... gets out of the vehicle, and then walks somewhere? Do you know where she walks to?"
Krummel: "No, I just know that she hid something, out of her vehicle."
Timmermann: "Do you know what she was carrying?"
Krummel: "A Ziploc baggie."
Timmermann: "A Ziploc baggie. So a bigger size? Quart size? Sandwich?"
Krummel: "It was like a gallon freezer bag."
Timmermannn: "So she's carrying a gallon-size bag of something? Do you have any idea what it was?"
Krummel: "I'm sure it was needles or drugs or something."
Krummel said his wife administered first aid to the child, police wrote.
In an additional police report, an officer wrote that Nicole Voss was sitting in the driveway near Jensen Voss as first responders tried to revive the child.
"Nicole was distraught and hysterical at time and it was very hard to understand what she was trying to tell me," the officer wrote.
Clinton County Coroner Phillip Moss declared the child dead at 3:45 p.m.
Police wrote that Jensen Voss was "unrestrained in the back passenger seat alongside Brayden," who was in a car seat locked in place with a seat belt shortly before the 2-year-old was run over.
Pictures of the white Chevy Suburban that Nicole Voss was driving when Jensen Voss was struck showed the vehicle full of items, including what appeared to be a stroller and other children's accessories.
Nicole Voss was taken to a hospital to have her blood drawn the day of Jensen's death. While there, a nurse noted in her assessment that Nicole Voss was distraught and hard to understand.
"I don't care, just kill me. I killed my baby. I don't deserve to live," Nicole Voss said repeatedly to the nurse, according to hospital reports.
She also spoke about a boyfriend and being shot in the right thigh around Christmas, according to a medical provider's report.
While police wrapped up their investigation by the end of October 2017, authorities said in January that pending lab work had temporarily stalled their investigation into the toddler's death.
Family and friends recently set up on an online petition titled "Justice For Jensen Voss." The petition called on the Clinton County state's attorney to file charges against Nicole Voss in Jensen Voss' death.
As of Wednesday, the petition had collected 166 signatures.
Nicole Voss has been arrested at least three times since her child's death in August:
- March 12 — She was arrested in St. Clair County after police said she was driving with a revoked license and possessed less than 5 ounces of meth March 12 in the 500 block of South Madison Street in Lebanon.
Feb. 22 — She was arrested in Clinton County on misdemeanor charges of damaging property and trespassing and a felony charge of driving with a revoked or suspended license. She posted a $1,730 for bond March 5.
Nov. 3 — She was arrested in Jefferson County, Missouri, on charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Court records indicate she posted the $4,000 bond Nov. 16.
Veronica Resa, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said in August that Nicole Voss was the subject of an investigation involving an allegation of neglect. The investigation was launched in response to the child’s death.
Nicole Voss' mother, Carol Voss, expressed concern for her daughter in a phone interview March 14.
"I just don't know what to say; I'm just terribly disappointed in her," Carol Voss said. "She needs to go to some kind of rehabilitation because she needs help, bad."