Teacher Elizabeth Owens Sentenced for Deadly 2022 Car Collision

A woman from suburban Lake Worth Beach was given a three-year prison sentence this week for causing a fatal car crash near Greenacres in 2022.

Elizabeth Owens, 27, received her sentence on July 1 from Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen at the Palm Beach County Courthouse. She had pleaded guilty in March to vehicular homicide for a collision on December 21, 2022, which resulted in the death of 68-year-old Willie Swoope.

The crash involved Owens’ Volkswagen Tiguan SUV and Swoope’s Mercedes-Benz sedan at St. Andrew’s and Nassau roads. Swoope, from Boynton Beach, died at the scene.

During the sentencing, Judge Gillen ordered Owens to serve three years in prison followed by six years of probation. He also suspended her driver’s license for six years.

Owens, who was employed as an ESE Pre-K teacher at Wellington Elementary School at the time of the crash, will begin her prison term at the end of this month. Her employment with the school district ended in May.

Investigators determined that Owens was driving nearly 90 mph in a 30-mph zone just before the collision. Owens claimed that the other vehicle ran a stop sign, but a crash reconstruction showed her vehicle was traveling at a minimum speed of 79 mph at the time of impact, while Swoope’s car was moving at 8 mph.

As part of her probation conditions, Owens must complete 200 hours of community service, attend a 12-hour defensive driving course, and give five speeches annually on reckless driving. Additionally, she will use her teaching experience to educate other inmates during her prison term.

Leave a Comment