“Little Women” Reality Show Star pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash

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From ABC 8 news:

A former reality star has pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in a DUI crash that killed a Coast Guardsman in November of 2017.

Virginia State Police say Melissa Hancock was driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on I-264 when she hit a Mazda head-on.

The driver of the Mazda, 29-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Dill, of Suffolk, died at the hospital.

 

 

…Court records show Hancock’s preliminary breath test yielded a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than double the legal limit of 0.08. Hancock reportedly told state police she had two to four mixed drinks at Peabody’s about an hour before the crash.

 

…Hancock, a former reality star who was on the show “Little Women, Atlanta,” faces 21 years behind bars.  She will be sentenced October 10.

Appellate Court rules blood and urine illegally obtained in fatal DUI case

An Illinois Appellate Court reversed a trial court’s ruling in a fatal DUI crash.

According to the Opinion, the motorist was driving with his children in the back seat.  One of his kids tried to hand him a candy wrapper to open.  When he momentarily turned his head, his van struck a seven year old boy, who was riding a bicycle and had darted out into traffic between two parked cars.  The motorist immediately stopped and ran into the nearby City Hall to get assistance.

The investigating officers testified that they did not observe any indications that the motorist was impaired by either alcohol or drugs.  Nevertheless, he was taken to a hospital to provide blood and urine screens.  The tests results showed the presence of THC and amphetamines and the motorist was charged with DUI.

A few days later, it was determined that the motorist had not been read the “Warnings to Motorist” form that would advise him of his rights regarding the chemical testing.  A second test was then ordered.

The defendant was found guilty and received a sentence of 54 months.

On appeal, the Court noted that there was no probable cause to believe that the motorist was impaired or that he had caused the accident.  No citations had been issued, and he was not under arrest at the time of the blood test, as required by Illinois law.  As a result, the results of the tests were suppressed and since there was no other evidence to support a finding of guilty, his conviction was reversed.

You can read the opinion here:  People v. Hayes, 2018 IL App (5th) 140223 (February 15, 2018) .

More details about “Little Women” star charged in fatal DUI crash

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the victim in the fatal crash was a 29 year old Coast Guardsman, Daniel Dill.

From the Journal-Constitution:

On his wife’s 27th birthday, Daniel Dill was acting as designated driver for her and her friends and was on his way to pick them up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, around 2 a.m. when Hancock, 25, allegedly hit his car head-on while driving on the wrong side of the interstate. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors determined he had suffered a major spinal cord injury, brain swelling, internal injuries and broken bones.

After doctors revealed his prognosis, Dill’s family made the decision to withdraw care, and he passed away just after midnight on Sunday. Meanwhile, police arrested and charged Hancock with DUI maiming, but the charge may be upgraded to DUI manslaughter, according to a spokeswoman for the commonwealth’s attorney.

Hancock, who was featured on the reality TV series in Season 2, reportedly told a state trooper that she had consumed four mixed drinks at a club an hour before driving. Her blood alcohol content was 0.112 two hours later, and she stands at just 4 feet tall. She was granted a $15,000 bond at a court hearing and was ordered to wear a GPS device that also tracks alcohol intake.

“Little Women” Reality Star arrested for Fatal DUI crash

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From TMZ:

Melissa Hancock — who’s been featured on “Little Women: Atlanta” — was allegedly driving the car that killed a man in a head-on crash and she’s been arrested for DUI.

Virginia State Police say Hancock collided head-on with a 29-year-old male driver Saturday morning while going the wrong way on a one-way street. Cops were called to the scene after 2 AM and arrested Hancock. The man died later at the hospital.

Hancock’s been charged with DUI/maiming and driving the wrong way. She’s reportedly being held without bail in a Virginia Beach jail.

Suspect in fatal crash driving 128 mph, 3X legal limit

From the Chicago Tribune:

Ciro Reyes Ramirez and his son had only been parked for a moment near the Tinley Park bar they were headed to clean early Tuesday morning, when a car allegedly speeding along Oak Park Avenue plowed into them from behind, he said.

Reyes Ramirez’s 20-year-old son Alberto Reyes, his youngest, was killed in the crash and he was injured. The driver of the other car, Joseph Vorberg, of Oak Forest, was drivingat about 130 mph, with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, when he crashed into their parked car, prosecutors said.

Vorberg fled the scene on foot after the crash, prosecutors said Thursday at the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview. Police found him 30 minutes later, hiding behind a semitrailer that was parked near a Tinley Park bar, prosecutors said.

Vorberg, 37, of the 15300 block of Arroyo Drive, is facing charges including reckless homicide and aggravated DUI stemming from the crash. A Cook County judge set Vorberg’s bail on Thursday at $1 million.

Judge Peter Felice said Vorberg was a “danger to himself … and to the community,” based on the allegations presented in court.

Data pulled from Vorberg’s Cadillac ATS sedan indicated he was traveling 128 mph just seconds before he smashed into the parked car, prosecutors said.

Alberto Reyes was declared dead at the scene, prosecutors said. His father was treated at a local hospital for injuries that were not life threatening and released.

Vorberg had been drinking at bars in Tinley Park and Harvey before the crash, prosecutors said. He had been treated at a local hospital for his injuries.

A test conducted on Vorberg indicated that his blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit, prosecutors said…

A GoFundMe page has been set up under Alberto Reyes’ nickname, Beto.

Vorberg is also charged with DUI, failing to give aid/information at an accident, improper lane usage and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Vorberg returns to court Nov. 2.

Not everyone gets 10 days in jail for DUI fatal accidents

The ten day jail sentence that Ryne San Hamel received last week for the drunk driving crash that killed Bobby Cann has sparked outrage (Click here to read the Sun-Times’ editorial).

But don’t think that everyone who drives drunk and kills someone gets a slap on the wrist.

Here is another recent case that had a very different result.  From the Chicago Tribune:

A Mundelein woman was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Tuesday for the death of a 22-year-old man in an early morning drunken driving crash in Libertyville.

Amanda Auld, 24, was sentenced after pleading guilty last year to one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in a death.

Killed in the crash was Steven Daskaukas, a passenger in Auld’s car when she struck the back of a truck at the intersection of Peterson and Harris roads in Libertyville at 2:43 a.m. on March 7, 2015.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Patricia Fix said she was particularly struck by reports that Auld’s friends, following in another car, had been calling Auld and Daskaukas on mobile phones in an attempt to stop the woman from continuing to drive.

Fix noted that Auld was speeding, leaving the second car unable to catch up with her.

Auld admitted in a statement to the court that she and her friends had been drinking heavily at two bars and had left a bar in Fox Lake when the crash occurred.

Auld apologized to Daskaukas’ family, saying she knew no words would make up for the loss, but that he had been her best friend and that “living through that accident is my very own life sentence.”

“You will never know what it’s like to watch your best friend die and walk away unharmed,” she said.

Auld said she takes “full responsibility for the part I played” in the crash, but also asked for a probationary sentence that would allow her to go into a formal treatment program to battle long-term alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues.

But Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Brown said Auld had been given supervisory sentences in the past that were to involve treatment programs and she failed to complete them.

Fix also noted that point in handing down the sentence, saying that although Auld had begun treatment programs and courses while in jail, it was hard not to believe her plea for treatment was an attempt to avoid prison.

Auld’s sentencing followed her guilty plea to the charge in a negotiated deal in which other charges were dismissed, including reckless homicide, and a cap of eight years was put on the sentence she would receive. Without the cap, she would have faced up to 14 years in prison, or probation if the judge found that the case included extraordinary circumstances.

Read the whole story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-dui-death-sentencing-st-0201-20170131-story.html

Former Space Shuttle Commander charged in alcohol related fatal crash

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Former Space Shuttle Commander James Halsell, Jr. has been indicted on charges of reckless murder in the (allegedly) alcohol related fatal crash that caused the death of two children, Jayla Parler, age 12 and Niomi James, age 11.

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The incident occurred on June 6, 2016 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

Here is a link to the police report.  Halsell’s vehicle allegedly was traveling at a very high rate of speed and rear-ended and crushed the other vehicle.  The investigating officer wrote that Halsell admitted drinking wine at a motel, but did not remember leaving the motel.  He had slurred speech, dilated pupils, disheveled clothes, smelled of alcohol, appeared confused and had unstable balance. A search of his motel room found an empty wine bottle and an empty sleeping pill bottle. The reports do not indicate if a blood alcohol test was taken.

A civil lawsuit has been filed by the parents of the victims.