CLEARFIELD – Homicide by vehicle charges against a DuBois woman have been dismissed.
Jackie Lynn Beach, 38, was charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter, DUI and traffic summaries after an incident June 24, 2016 when her vehicle allegedly struck a pedestrian on West DuBois Avenue in DuBois.
She told police she heard a thud before she turned her vehicle around and returned to the scene where she saw the man lying on the side of the road. She was the one who called 911.
Beach’s attorney, Blair Hindman, filed briefs after a hearing citing several reasons the charges should be withdrawn. He stated in court documents that the Commonwealth failed to establish a case for several of the charges.
After reviewing this information and a response by the District Attorney, William A. Shaw Jr., Judge Paul Cherry dismissed the charges on Sept. 27.
In the brief, Hindman says the evidence establishes “that the pedestrian was, in one manner or another, directly responsible for his own death.”
The victim was walking in Beach’s lane of traffic, was wearing all black at night (the accident was around 9:30 p.m.) and “the collision would have occurred regardless of the state of the defendant’s intoxication,” according to court documents.
There is also no evidence that Beach was intoxicated because there are no lab reports from the blood tests done on Beach listed as evidence in the case, he said.
Although it was mentioned at the preliminary hearing that an expert would be available to testify at trial and that there is a lab report, there was no attempt to make this report part of the record.
There is little evidence even on the summary traffic charges, according to the document. The speed accusations were based on findings of a collision analysis expert from the state police.
This expert said she was traveling between 41 miles per hour and 48 m.p.h., in a 35 m.p.h. zone. It is noted in the paperwork that DuBois City police would not necessarily charge someone for driving only over six miles per hour over the speed limit.
As to the involuntary manslaughter charge, the Commonwealth would have to prove she acted in a “reckless or grossly negligent manner.” There is no evidence she acted with a “disregard for human life or an indifference to consequences.”
The case for the DUI charges “cannot establish that the defendant had anything more than therapeutic levels of prescribed medications in her blood.”
Beach allegedly told a police officer, prior to being read her rights, that she had taken lexapro. She also said her prescription for Adderall had expired, but she had taken her daughter’s medication in its place, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.
The motion asked these statements made prior to her being read her rights, be suppressed.
The officer also testified that she failed field sobriety tests and was evaluated by a drug recognition expert prior to being sent for a blood test.
In his closing arguments at the preliminary hearing, Hindman questioned the charges, stating that the testimony did not include a test on the level of tolerance Beach has for these drugs. He went on to say there was “a lot of evidence that she was not under the influence.”