German traffic fatality case ensures justice

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

Once again, drinking and driving proved to be a deadly combination. In this case, justice was served.

Senior Airman Jade Westmoreland was sentenced to three years in prison during his court martial hearing April 26, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, for driving drunk, killing a German man and seriously injuring another in an automobile accident April 20, 2019, near Speicher, a village seven miles southwest of Spangdahlem.

Westmoreland’s sentence also included receiving a bad-conduct discharge and a reduction in rank to airman basic.

Shortly after processing the crash site, the Polizei in Bitburg, Germany, passed case jurisdiction to the Office of Special Investigations Detachment 518 at Spangdahlem.

“OSI agents ran the case in full from start to finish,” said Special Agent Lacey Supinger, Det. 518 commander. “This included conducting several witness interviews, processing the vehicles involved for evidence collection, records checks, a secondary search of the crime scene and searches of digital evidence of Westmoreland and his conspirators to obstruct justice.”

Two additional active duty Airmen were charged with obstruction of justice in association with this case which was revealed through cell phone communication with Westmoreland, who was assigned to the 52nd Maintenance Squadron.

The investigation ran from April 20, 2019 to Oct. 29, 2020. It presented the difficult challenge of extracting the data from Westmoreland’s vehicle to determine his activity leading up to and at the time of impact. 

“Once we were finally able to pull readable data from the car, we worked with the DC3 (Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center) Forensics Laboratories which analyzed information stored in the vehicle’s supplemental restraint system and air bag module,” SA Supinger explained. “We also worked with a German vehicle accident reconstructionist, who responded to the crash scene and provided an expert reconstruction product.” 

The way Det. 518 agents performed their mission to resolve the case with other agencies, drew praise from SA Supinger.

“I’m exceptionally proud of my team and all the hard work they dedicated to bring this case to justice. Their investigative prowess, motivation, and hunter mindset allowed for a solid investigation,” she said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the outstanding support from the team at the 52nd Fighter Wing legal office and our partners at the Bitburg Police Inspectorate, because we couldn’t have done it alone.”