The Minnesota Star Tribune reports today that the woman accused of hitting and killing a Wayzata police officer with her car had cocaine in her system at the time of the accident. Beth Freeman is charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide as the result of the September accident which killed Wayzata Police Officer William Mathews.
Minnesota DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms notes the fact that Ms. Freeman had cocaine in her blood makes the State’s case substantially easier to prove. In order to obtain a criminal vehicular homicide conviction, the State must ordinarily prove that the defendant committed “gross negligence”. “Gross negligence” is defined in Minnesota law as the “complete absence of care or acting with a wanton disregard for the lives or safety of others.” Thus for example, an accident caused by the failure to yield to another vehicle or by speeding would not constitute “gross negligence” as mere negligent conduct isn’t sufficient to charge the crime of criminal vehicular homicide.
Minnesota Statute § 609.21 also provides, however, that a person is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide if the person causes the death of another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle “in a negligent manner while an amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol, is present in the person’s body.
So Ms. Freeman better hope that the search warrant used to obtain her blood or urine was deficient as otherwise, the State’s case just got a lot easier to prove.
If you or a loved one has been charged with Criminal Vehicular Homicide or Operation, or if you are facing a Minnesota DWI, feel free to contact Minnesota DWI Attorney, F. T. Sessoms for answers to all of your legal questions.