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Cocaine blamed in DUI death, resulting in homicide charge

Most accidents involving drunk driving occur in during the evening hours because that is the time of day when most people turn to alcohol and other intoxicants for relaxation and recreation. However, as a Lackawanna County district attorney observed in relation to a recent fatal accident that occurred at 10:00 a.m., "DUIs don't have to happen after 11 o'clock at night."

The accident in question occurred on June 2 in Old Forge. A car driven by an elderly woman slowed down to make a left turn, and she was struck by a car that was traveling at 43 mph, about 18 mph over the applicable limit. The woman in the turning vehicle was taken to a near-by hospital complaining of head and back pain. She died less than a day later.

The driver of the second vehicle was thought to be intoxicated by police at the scene, and she submitted to a blood test. The test found both carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant, and cocaine, in her blood stream. At a preliminary hearing in the Lackawanna County Courthouse on August 18, 2016, the woman was charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence, recklessly endangering another person, homicide by vehicle while DUI and numerous traffic citations. A trial date has not been set.

The defendant in this case is entitled to be presumed innocent until she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but if she is convicted, she faces the potential loss revocation of her driver's license, a fine and possible jail time. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney for an assessment of the evidence in the case and an estimate of the likelihood of the obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Woman charged in fatal Old Forge DUI," Joseph Kohut, August 19, 2016

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