The second half of a pre-trial hearing has begun for the case involving a 27-year-old woman accused of killing two Carlton county highway department employees while driving under the influence of a controlled substance. The woman is being charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.
The crash occurred at around 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 21, 2012. According to witnesses, the woman’s 1996 Oldsmobile weaved over the centerline and entered the path of the oncoming highway department truck, which held two passengers, ages 25 and 29. The drivers of the truck swerved to the right to avoid a collision, but the guardrail prevented them from being able to fully dodge the Oldsmobile.
The woman struck the truck on the rear driver’s side, forcing the truck into oncoming traffic. The truck then hit a gooseneck trailer, causing the two highway department employees to be ejected from the vehicle. The men were not wearing seatbelts. Officers responding to the scene discovered a syringe in the woman’s car, which still contained a small amount of liquid thought to be methadone. Officers were able to gather three witnesses.
The case may seem fairly open and shut; however, a defense attorney for the woman is calling some of the presented evidence into question. Statements that the woman made before she was read her Miranda rights are being contested, as well as the blood sample that was taken from the woman. The defense is referencing a U.S. Supreme Court case in which it was determined that drawing blood from a DUI suspect against their will requires a warrant, which the police in this case did not have. Also, police removed certain items from the woman’s vehicle with no warrant.
While it’s uncertain if the case will go to trial, it seems that the defense might be able to at least reduce the woman’s sentence if she is found guilty. While a charge such as vehicular homicide is very serious, it must be remembered that this woman still has rights and should not have had to endure an unlawful search.
Source: pinejournal.com, “Attorneys battle it out in Brigan case” Jana Peterson, Nov. 08, 2013