An Idaho mom who drove her SUV off a cliff and into a reservoir, killing herself and her three children, acted deliberately.
Noel Bankhead, a 40-year-old mother of three, drove a Land Rover holding her two daughters and son off a 50-foot cliff on June, 2, 2016. The vehicle sank in 40 feet of water in Lucky Peak Lake. The deaths were ruled a triple homicide-suicide by the Ada County Coroner’s Office, authorities said in a statement.
Authorities found the bodies of Bankhead, 13-year-old Anika Voermans, 11-year-old Logan Voermans and 8-year-old Gwyneth Voermans when the vehicle, whose roof was crushed, was recovered from the reservoir.
Witnesses said Bankhead was driving on a state highway when she veered off it, positioning her car to launch off the cliff. She then accelerated suddenly, witnesses told officials.
Nothing was mechanically wrong with the vehicle, but officials were unable to recover information including speed, acceleration and braking data.
The sheriff’s office instead relied on witness statements, and the absence of skid marks to determine that Bankhead intentionally drove of the cliff, killing herself and her children.
Toxicology tests found no medication or alcohol in Bankhead’s system.
She went through a divorce about two years before the crash, and was remembered as an avid runner and full-time working parent who had been a paralegal and legal secretary for more than twenty years.