A woman driving with high levels of marijuana in her system will spend a year in jail after pleading guilty to crashing into a pickup truck and killing the driver.
Hope R. King, 30, of Churubusco pleaded guilty Friday to causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon for the accident that occurred Nov. 18, 2019 around 8 p.m. at the intersection of West Washington Center and Flaugh roads.
Police found George Banks, 46, dead in the driver’s seat of his teal Chevy pickup. His mother, Valerie Barrett, sitting in the driver’s seat, called out to him just after the accident, not realizing what had happened, according to a probable cause affidavit written by Christina Fosnaugh, an investigator with the Allen County Prosecutor’s office. The cab and bed of the truck had been separated from the frame.
Fosnaugh wrote that King drove her maroon Honda CRV as if it were a deadly weapon and was driving while intoxicated. King crossed the center line and caused a crash that killed Banks and injured Barrett. King also put her daughter in danger.
King was driving west on West Washington Center Road near Flaugh when she crossed the center line. Officers didn’t observe any brake or skid marks on the road, indicating there was “no attempt to avoid collision from either vehicle.”
Barrett said she didn’t remember much from the crash, but the last thing she remembered was calling out to her son, court documents said.
King said she’d left the union hall on Ludwig Road and recalled looking in the rear view mirror and singing with her 1-year-old daughter, seated in the back. When she looked down from the mirror, she saw lights. The next thing she remembers was climbing out of the vehicle. She told officers she believed she was traveling between 45 and 50 miles per hour.
A blood draw taken about two hours after the crash showed 9.6 ng/ml of THC when the limit allowed is 0.5 ng/mL and a THC-COOH level of more than 100 ng/mL when the allowed limit is 5.0 ng/mL, court documents said. Toxicology tests were conducted by the Indiana State Department of Toxicology.
King said she’d been diagnosed with diabetes and depression and suffered from herniated disks, fibromyalgia, anxiety and back and nerve pain. Her prescribed drugs included Gabapentin, Metformin, Lesenapro and Topamax. Hope also said she takes “a lot “ of full spectrum CBD oil for pain and inflammation not prescribed by a doctor. The CBD oil is 60-milligram strength taken three times a day, she said.
Friday, Superior Court Judge David Zent sentenced Hope to 10 years suspended for causing death when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with four years probation. She will first have to serve one year at the Indiana Department of Correction for criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon. She had one day of jail credit, court records showed.
Since it’s a Level 6 felony, King will serve her time at the Allen County, a jail spokesman said. Any Level 6 sentences that come after July 1 are eligible to be shipped to a state prison.