A US substance abuse counsellor who drove for three kilometres with a pedestrian embedded in her car’s windshield after she hit him while drunk was jailed for at least 55 years.
Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 53, was convicted in February of second degree murder, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of the crash which killed 31-year-old Phillip Moreno. She was jailed for 55 years to life on Thursday.
Wilkins drove for three kilometres (two miles) through a Los Angeles suburb on November 12, 2012 with Moreno stuck in her windshield, before another motorist signalled for her to pull over.
When she eventually stopped she smoked a cigarette as bystanders tried to help the injured man. He later died in hospital.
At her trial, Wilkins insisted she was not drunk at the time, although she had consumed three vodka shots with beer and tomato juice.
She said it appeared to her that the man “came from the sky”, describing it as “like a blur of something, like a flash of something.
“It was very shocking and very strange,” she said of the incident, adding: “I didn’t know what was going on…. I don’t feel like I had hit him with my car.”
LA Superior Court judge Henry J. Hall denied her lawyers’ request for a new trial, saying there was “clearly sufficient” evidence against her.
He described her “extraordinary callousness” when she swerved in a bid to shake Moreno off the car, rather than stopping to seek help for him.
The victim’s niece, Alyssa Moreno, said: “Phillip died alone…. That night will forever play in my head.”