A substance abuse counselor has been charged with murder after hitting and killing a pedestrian while under the influence of alcohol late Saturday night in Torrance.
According to accident reports, 51 year old Sherri Wilkins, a chemical dependency counselor at Twin Town Treatment Centers, was driving on Torrance Boulevard near Madrid Avenue at around 11:15 p.m. when she struck 31 year old Philip Moreno and continued driving more than two miles with the man draped across her windshield.
Witnesses on the scene were eventually able to surround her vehicle at Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street and hold her in place until police arrived. Moreno was then rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
An examination of Wilkins blood-alcohol level revealed that at the time of the accident, it was twice the legal limit. She reportedly told police that after she hit the man, she panicked and did not know what to do. She was arrested at the scene and detained in a local prison, where she was later charged with murder. She is being held on $2.25 million bail.
If convinced, Wilkins could face up to life in prison, as this was not her first run in with the law. As a recovering addict, she already has two prior burglary convictions, making this her third strike.
A representative from Twin Town Treatment Centers said that Wilkins was hired in September of 2011, after an internship through Loyola Marymount University. She passed her background check and drug alcohol screenings when she was brought on and showed no signs of relapse, prior to this incident. She worked primarily with a small group of people struggling with addiction who met in the evenings, six days a week.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a crash with a driver under the influence, you should seek help. These accidents have the potential to inflict serious damages that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair, well beyond what most victims can cover on their own.
Thankfully, though the help of a well-trained Los Angeles car accident lawyer, compensation can be recovered from those at fault to help pay for things like hospital visits, medical bills, and car repair payments.
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