Rogersville, TN- Keila Rose Reed, a Rogersville woman who had been taking a host of prescription drugs before she caused a fatal DUI accident last year has been sentenced to nine years in jail.
Reed, 29, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and aggravated reckless assault in a Hawkins County Court Wednesday, the Times News reported. In addition to the jail sentence, Reed was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and will have her license suspended for 10 years.
On April 9, 2013, Reed was east near Hawkins Count Elementary School when she lost control and veered into oncoming traffic, slamming head-on into a car driven by 80 year-old Lucille L. Melton who had a 9 year-old passenger.
Melton initially survived her injuries, but she died five days later at the Holston Valley Medical Center. Her young passenger suffered serious brain injuries.
Immediately after the accident police has Reed’s blood drawn for chemical testing. According to arresting Officer Mark Cook, Reed, “had slurred speech, and her eyes were dilated.” He said she admitted to taking “some methadone, some ‘Roxies’ and some Lortabs,” prior to the crash.
Her toxicology test report showed her blood to contain oxycodone, methadone, diazepam, nordazepam and alprazolam, according to the New Times.
Cook also told the Times News he believes she was speeding before she crashed into Melton’s vehicle, but he said judging by the impact of the crash she was driving well-above the posted speed limit. “I asked her about the wreck and Ms. Reed told me she didn’t remember what happened,” Cook said.
Reed was initially charged with aggravated assault, but after Melton passed police changed her charges.
Lately, there has been a great deal of focus on driving under the influence of marijuana as two states have legalized it from recreational use and several states are considering medical marijuana. The hyper-focus on the dangers of driving after toking has overshadowed the very real problem of driving under the influence of prescription drugs which in many cases is far more dangerous than and deadly. Americans take more prescription drugs than any other country and many of those drugs affect a person’s ability to drive.
Even when a person is given a prescription for a drug, it doesn’t give them the right to drive. So many people fail to realize they could face drugged driving charges if they drive erratically or cause an accident after taking their legally obtained medication. Excuses like; “I only took a little,” or “I didn’t realize my driving was affected,” won’t fly in court and the offender will need to retain an accomplished DUI attorney.
An effective DUI lawyer will take into consideration all the circumstances of your arrest and your life to build your drugged driving defense. DUI attorneys understand how to argue in favor of their clients and will make it possible for them to avoid conviction or negotiate for a plea bargain. They will explore whatever options necessary to benefit their clients. No one should take on drugged driving charged without the assistance of a DUI attorney.