Driver charged in Bellbrook teens’ deaths to change plea

SUGARCREEK TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN)- Attorneys for Jesse Whitaker confirmed to 2 NEWS that he will change his plea from not guilty to guilty Wednesday morning.

Attorney Mark Babb told Jackie Sprague that no deal has been worked out with prosecutors.

Whitaker was 17-years-old at the time of the deadly crash so he was charged as a juvenile.

He faces up to nine months in the Greene County Juvenile Detention Center.

Investigators say Whitaker was driving a truck on Wagner Road in November 2012 when he lost control and hit a tree, killing three teens – Julianna Hawk, 14, Sophie Kerrigan, 17, and Skylar Kooken, 16.

The three teens were students at Bellbrook High School.

Babb said this tragedy has taken its toll on Whitaker, although not to the extent of the victims’ families, but his life has changed as well.

Sophie’s mother Janet Carpenter spoke with 2 NEWS Tuesday.  She hopes the judge sentences Whitaker to more than just time behind bars.

“We would like to see his license get terminated until he’s 21.  I would like to see him be requested, not requested but demanded that he has to go to about 30 high schools, 10 for each girl and talk about the ramifications of bad driving and then maybe that will save a few teen lives,” explains Carpenter.

2 NEWS will be in court Wednesday and we will bring you the latest, starting at 2 NEWS at 5:00. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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