Mother with baby in car who died after crash in Spanish Fork River had mixture of drugs in her system

Posted at 4:01 PM, Nov 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-18 19:14:09-05

SPANISH FORK, Utah — Months after a baby survived overnight in a car in the Spanish Fork River after the crash that killed her mother, authorities have confirmed the baby’s mother had drugs in her system when her vehicle struck a barrier at the bridge and plunged into the frigid water below.

The updated information also indicates the woman’s father was concerned about her ability to drive that night and had offered to take her home himself, but she declined.

According to a supplement to the incident report from Spanish Fork Police dated November 18, the medical examiner found a mixture of intoxicating substances in 25-year-old Jennifer Lynn Goresbeck’s system, including Clonazepam, THC, morphine, codeine and hydromorphone. While some of those substances can be found in prescription drugs, the report also indicated the presence of 6-monoacetylmorphine-free–a finding which is indicative of heroin use.

The opinion of the medical examiner in that supplement states Groesbeck: “died as a result of blunt force injury of the head. Other significant conditions include mixed drug intoxication.”

The scene of a fatal crash in the Spanish Fork River in March, 2015.

The scene of a fatal crash in the Spanish Fork River in March, 2015.

The story of Groesbeck’s death and Lily’s incredible survival in early March captured national attention, especially after dramatic footage from responders’ body cameras showed crews pulling her from the wreckage and racing her to a hospital, all while providing live-saving aid. Those emergency responders were later honored for their actions, and some of them were treated for hypothermia after they waded into the cold water to shift the car onto its side and pull the baby from within.

Police had earlier confirmed that a small bag of marijuana as well as the drug tramadol were found in the vehicle. 

Lily was rescued after a man who was fishing in the river spotted Groesbeck’s car, which had crashed into the river the night before as Groesbeck  was returning home to Springville with her daughter after a visit to her family in the Salem area. The car went into the river after it struck a cement barrier on the south side of the bridge.

The fatal crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. on March 6, and the car was found at about noon the next day.

According to the supplement from Spanish Fork Police dated November 18, the woman’s father told police that his daughter had taken some Klonipin (which is another name for Clonazepam and is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and other issues) and he didn’t feel like she should be driving.

He was so concerned he offered to drive her home, but she refused that offer and drover herself instead.

The father told police that as his daughter was putting Lily in the back seat, he made sure to check that Lily was safely restrained. He also, “watched as she left to make sure she was driving OK.”

The next morning, he was worried about his family but knew Groesbeck’s cell phone wasn’t working, so he drove to her home. He didn’t find her there, so he began driving around looking for her.

According to the supplement, an officer reported, “[The father] was driving back to Salem when he approached [the] accident scene. He told me he stopped at the scene and just knew that the accident involved Jennifer and Lily.”