It’s a nightmare scenario. She was driving her Chrysler Pacifica at about 80 mph on a Colorado road last December. According to the State Patrol, she was headed west when her vehicle crossed the center of the road in a curve and slammed into an eastbound Nissan head-on.
Two people died in the fiery collision and others were injured. Prosecutors are accusing a 26-year-old woman of being drunk behind the wheel of the Chrysler and causing the deaths. The defendant not only lived through the nightmare on Dec. 13, but says she is living another one now, falsely accused of being the reckless, drunken driver of the speeding Pacifica.
A jury trial has been set in Cortez, Colorado, a town in the southwest corner of the state. Last week, the shackled defendant appeared in court for arraignment, wearing jailhouse yellow clothes and charged with vehicular homicide and six counts of vehicular assault, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Her attorney spoke for her, telling the court that she is pleading not guilty to the charges.
The woman has reportedly admitted to being drunk hours before the fatal collision, but her attorney said last month that the defendant was a passenger in the Pacifica, not the driver. According to a news report, the lawyer said eyewitness testimony will prove his client is not guilty in the tragedy.
The nightmare continues for everyone in this case; the families of the victims, and for those who were injured. The nightmare might well include the defendant, living currently in the county jail, who says she isn’t responsible for the crash.
We don’t know where the truth is to be found in this case, but we know that finding the truth is a process that involves not only those making accusations, but the criminal defense attorneys who defend the rights of the accused and help defendants tell their side of the story.