Police in North Dakota have charged a 32-year-old woman with vehicular homicide, hindering a criminal investigation and giving false information to law enforcement in connection with a deadly pedestrian accident that occurred during the early morning hours of Sept. 11. Media reports indicate that police obtained a blood sample from the woman in order to determine her blood alcohol concentration at the time of the incident. If she is convicted on the vehicular homicide charge, she could be sent to prison for up to 20 years.
Struck while walking home
The accident took place close to the intersection of 42nd Street South and 10th Avenue in Fargo. Police officers were dispatched to the scene at approximately 1:00 a.m. When they arrived, they found a 39-year-old man lying in the street. It is believed that he was returning home from a supermarket when he was struck. He was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. Initial reports suggest that the man had been struck with significant force. His body was found about 100 feet from the site of the impact according to media reports.
Strong smell of alcohol
The woman was allegedly found behind the wheel of an SUV parked about 100 feet from the victim’s body. Police officers say that they became suspicious when they detected the smell of alcohol in the SUV and noticed signs of intoxication. The woman is said to have admitted to the officers that she had consumed a six-pack of beer and several shots of liquor before getting behind the wheel.
Remaining silent when questioned by police
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise motorists facing DUI charges to remain silent when questioned by police even if the facts seem clear. Confessing to consuming alcohol before driving is not likely to deter police officers from making an arrest, but it could make it more difficult for defense attorneys to challenge the validity of toxicology evidence or question the actions of the officers involved.