Los Angeles, CA- To say drugs and alcohol make for horrible drivers is an understatement when you consider the case of a Los Angeles woman who struck a pedestrian when she was drunk and drove with a dying man struck in her windshield.

In February, Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 52, was convicted of second degree murder and last week she learned how she would be spending 55 years in prison for her horrendous actions on that night in November of 2012, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Wilkins was twice the legal limit that night when struck 31 year-old Phillip Moreno in Torrance, California, after she left the counseling center where she helped others with their substance abuse problems.

Moreno was struck with such force that he lost his shoes and pants and was thrown back onto Wilkin’s vehicle and into the windshield. Moreno became lodged in the broken windshield and instead of stopping and rendering aid to him or calling 911, Wilkins drove for two miles. She finally stopped after other motorists saw the horrific scene and surrounded her car at red light waiting for police to arrive.

When emergency crews arrived, Moreno was still alive and talking. He was taken to the hospital, but he died later on. Its possible his life could have been spared if Wilkins had done the right thing.

During her trial, Wilkins talked of her substance abuse problems which began when she was fifteen after she suffered serious injuries in a car accident. When asked why she continued to drive even though a man was dying, she said the events were a surreal blur, she was “very confused,” and thought he “fell from the sky.”

Wilkins asserts she wasn’t drunk at the time of accident despite having a beer, a Clamato and three airplane size bottles of alcohol, but the court disagreed. Seems like she should have known better than to drive drunk since she was a drug counselor and a car accident caused her lifelong suffering, much less refuse to stop and help her unfortunate victim.

Your actions during and after a DUI arrest can have a bearing on your case so don’t flee from the scene of an accident and do cooperate with police. If you have issues with an officer’s reason to stop or charge you  its best to allow a DUI attorney to litigate any of those issues in pre-trail negotiations or in court.  Had Wilkins stopped when she struck Moreno and got him the medical attention he needed, he might have survived and she wouldn’t  face spending the rest of her life behind bars.

Intoxicated drivers who are involved in an accident have this misconception that if they run they won’t be charged with a DUI. Some people get away with hit-and-run but most don’t and the resulting consequences can be far more serious than if a person just accepts the fact they may be charged with a DUI.

Fighting just a DUI is much easier if there aren’t other egregious charges such as fleeing the scene of an accident or manslaughter are tacked on. DUI attorneys know how shape an effective defense which will allow their clients to avoid the tougher penalties that accompany a drunken or drugged driving charge.