You might recall Sandra Jacobson, the Denver woman convicted of killing two women in a 2009 crash. Jacobson was convicted of vehicular homicide and DUI and sentenced to 36 years in prison.
However, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that she will get a new trial on the charges. The appeals court ruled that the judge in Jacobson’s case failed to ask jurors if they had seen news reports detailing the defendant’s previous convictions, including a DUI offense.
The news stories could have prejudiced jurors, the court said, and the judge should have asked if the accounts had been viewed.
A 71-year-old woman and a 54-year-old woman died in a crash as they were on their way to the Denver airport in a taxi.
Jacobson’s vehicle and the taxi collided. Prosecutors said during her trial that her blood alcohol level was approximately three times the legal limit at the time of the collision.
The defendant will get another opportunity to tell her version of events. You might recall from news stories published at the time her version: she was not drunk when the crash happened and she was not speeding, but she did briefly lose control of her vehicle when her dog lunged for a snack. She had not seen the taxi and did not know the vehicles made contact.
She consumed a bottle of vitamin water and alcohol after the incident, she said.
Prosecutors argued that she was drunk, hit the taxi and sped off.
It’s plain from her 36-year sentence that courts take charges of vehicular homicide very seriously. Her criminal defense attorney has gained for her another chance to give her version of events of that afternoon now more than five years ago.
Source: Associated Press, “New trial ordered in Denver DUI crash that killed 2 librarians from Connecticut,” Nov. 7, 2014