Family wants change after woman killed by driver with meth, fentanyl in his system

Shawna Meeks was hit and killed in Jeffersonville in July

Family wants change after Shawna Meeks' death

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – “I’m going to miss her so much,” Beverly Meeks, mother of Shawna Meeks, said.

In the weeks since her death, their family has been torn apart as they wait for justice to come for the driver who is accused of hitting and killing their daughter while under the influence of drugs.

Police said the driver had methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system when he ignored a light and pulled his car out from Woehrle Road onto Veterans Parkway in Jeffersonville, hitting and killing Shawna Meeks, 45, of Jeffersonville. The driver has been identified as Jerry Cooper, 29, of Pekin, Indiana.

In the weeks since Shawna’s death, the Meeks family has had time to grieve. Now, they’re calling for change as they hope to see drug addicts better held accountable for crimes and family and friends to stop enabling dangerous habits.

“It’s something you have to live with every day,” Beverly Meeks said.

Inside their quiet Georgetown home, pictures are all that remain of Shawna.

“Shawna was a beautiful woman, someone everybody loved,” Beverly said.

Beverly and her daughter were close; Shawna’s father called them best friends.

“She was totally beautiful,” Beverly said.

Beverly and her husband have two sons, Charlie and Greg. Their children both adored their aunt Shawna. Shawna was caring, always helping others, Beverly said. She was doing a favor for her brother July 19 when the car Cooper borrowed didn’t stop at the light on Woerhle Road and Veterans Parkway, driving right into her.

“He didn't even stop,” Beverly said. “He just run in the side of her.”

Shawna Meeks was killed in Jeffersonville when she was hit by a driver who was under the influence.
Shawna Meeks was killed in Jeffersonville when she was hit by a driver who was under the influence. ((Source: Family photo))

Toxicology reports found Cooper had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he hit her. Two hours after the crash, Shawna was gone.

“They tried to keep her alive until we got there," Beverly said. “We didn’t make it."

Beverly said Shawna likely wouldn’t have known them if they’d made it to the hospital in time because of her injuries - one of them being a broken neck.

Cooper is in the Floyd County Jail on other charges. In the notice to seek habitual offender status, Cooper’s recent arrests and convictions for crimes like theft and fraud are laid out from recent years.

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he understands that many people are struggling with addiction but even on minor charges like possession of a syringe, people like Cooper need to be kept in jail so they can’t hurt others in the community.

“Because even if they’re arrested on a low-level offense, it’s a symptom of a very serious problem of drug addiction which is actually a distinct, clear and present to the public,” Mull said. “She would be alive today if nobody would have gave him a car. So please don’t, please don’t give them a car when you know they’re on drugs."

Beverly echoed those sentiments.

“I want to say please, people if you have a family member that’s into drugs, please, please don’t give them your car to drive," Beverly said. “This is what happened here.”

While nothing will bring back Shawna, Beverly said she wants to see addicts held accountable so no other family has to go through this.

”I’m going to miss her so much,” Beverly said.

Cooper has been charged with causing death while operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in the blood, unlawful possession of a syringe and possession of paraphernalia. Mull said he will be seeking a habitual offender status for Cooper as well. If convicted, Cooper could face up to 32 years in prison.

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