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Drunk driving cases are not always what they seem (cont.)

Last time, we discussed what appeared to be an obvious drunk driving crash. The crash was horrific. One man dead. The other driver unconscious, but seemingly intoxicated. But was she? Or had she been slipped a date rape drug, attacked and raped and then as she escapes from her attacker, she crashes her car?

That is the argument the defense will make if she is retried by a Missouri court. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. That verdict has been overturned by a court of appeals decision, which found the jury instructions were improper and limited the jury's consideration circumstantial evidence.

Such evidence would likely include the fact she was naked from the waist down and her pants bunched up in the back seat. She had matching bruises on her wrists and what could have been finger marks on the inside of her thighs. Her cervix was injured. None of the coworkers who were out with her that night could recall seeing her with a drink. Her underwear, cell phone and purse were never found. There were handprints on the roof of her vehicle in the backseat.

There were other significant errors with the investigation. It appears that the Missouri Highway Patrol potentially compromised the integrity the blood test by allowing the blood to go unrefrigerated for more than a week and they failed to look for potential the presence of a date rape drug.

Confidence in the competence of the investigation was further undercut when the woman's attorney questioned one investigator, who according to one news report, "Appeared not to know what a cervix was when asked on the witness stand."

It is unclear if the prosecutors will attempt to retry the woman, but this case once again demonstrates that what is, at first, appears to be obvious, upon closer examination may not be so obvious.

Source: lakeexo.com, "Jury said drunken driver caused fatal I-70 crash, but was she really a victim too?" Jennifer S. Mann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 23, 2015

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