CRIME

Drug Abuse Counselor Sentenced For Driving Drunk With Victim On Her Windshield

The woman drove 2 miles with a dying man on her car in 2012.
Public defender Nan Whitfield comforts substance-abuse counselor Sherri Lynn Wilkins in 2014.
Public defender Nan Whitfield comforts substance-abuse counselor Sherri Lynn Wilkins in 2014.

A substance-abuse counselor was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Thursday for a 2012 incident that involved her driving drunk, hitting a man and driving 2 miles with him on her windshield.

Prosecutors charged Sherri Wilkins, 55, with one count each of second-degree murder, driving under the influence causing injury, driving with a .08 percent blood-alcohol content and hit-and-run, according to local newspaper the Daily Breeze. She pleaded no contest and was immediately sentenced.

Wilkins was driving drunk when she struck 31-year-old Phillip Moreno as he was crossing a street in Torrance, California, at night, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Moreno was allegedly facedown and embedded into the windshield and hood of Wilkins’ car. Police said Wilkins panicked and kept driving until other people stopped her car and took away her keys.

Moreno had a pulse when officers arrived, but was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. 

Wilkins told police she was heading home from work as a substance-abuse counselor at the Twin Town Treatment Center, but the center denies that she had worked that night, according to the Times.

Wilkins said she drank three vodka shots and a beer in her car before she started driving. Investigators said her blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit 90 minutes after the crash, but the defense argued that not enough time had passed for her blood-alcohol level to exceed the legal limit of .08.

Wilkins was originally found guilty in 2014 on similar charges arising from the same incident and sentenced to 55 years to life in prison. That conviction was later overturned by an appeals court on the grounds that her entire criminal history, which included drug abuse, had been admitted at trial and could have prejudiced the jury, according to the Daily Breeze.

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