A Connecticut woman who reportedly struck and killed two men while driving under the influence of alcohol was sentenced to just six months in in jail after pleading guilty to drunk driving. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the two counts of felony leaving the scene of an accident.
According to reports, the woman was driving from South Norwalk to Stamford on Interstate 95, when she struck two pedestrians attempting to change a flat tire. When police arrived, the woman reportedly appeared to be intoxicated, failed a field sobriety test and refused a Breathalyzer test.
After the incident, which happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 16, 2010, the woman was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, but the prosecutors cited lack of evidence as why the charges were never officially filed. The state claimed that the accident investigation was not able to determine conclusively whether the two men had been walking in the road or on the shoulder when the vehicle struck them. The car and additional evidence was also destroyed by the state police in 2013 because they believed the case was settled.
This case shows how important evidence is in criminal cases. All defendants have a right to due process and are considered innocent until proven guilty, and proving guilt requires the appropriate evidence. Defendants facing drunk driving accusations or other criminal charges should understand their rights and what the options are to ensure those rights are protected. In some cases, challenging the evidence is also necessary, and it is important that defendants have knowledgeable representation.
Source: CT Post, "Stamford woman gets light sentence in death of two men" John Nickerson, Sep. 03, 2014