Hart family inquest: Information from SUV’s ‘black box’ reveals new details about its fatal last trip


New information about the Hart family’s SUV’s fatal final trip was revealed Thursday morning, on the second and final day of a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Jennifer and Sarah Hart and their six children, ages 12 to 19.

Investigators had previously, and it turns out erroneously, said that Jennifer Hart drove the family’s GMC Yukon off the cliff at 90 miles per hour. In fact, she accelerated to just 20 miles per hour, California Highway Patrol Officer Timothy Roloff testified Thursday. That took her three seconds from a standing stop near the cliff, and she pressed the gas pedal to 100 percent throttle, he said.

He based that assessment on an expert analysis of the SUV’s internal air bag-deploying computer which is akin to an airplane’s “black box.”

Roloff testified in great detail and said all the evidence his team discovered was “consistent with this being an intentional act.”

When driving with your family near a cliff, he asked, “How often do you apply 100 percent throttle?”

— Molly Young


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