WASHINGTON – A substance abuse counselor who drove for over 3 km with a pedestrian embedded in her windshield after she hit him while drunk was jailed for a minimum term of 55 years in the United States.
Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 53, was convicted in February of second degree murder, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of the crash that killed 31-year-old Phillip Moreno. She was jailed on Thursday for 55 years to life.
Wilkins, with the victim wedged in her windshield, drove for over 3 km through a Los Angeles suburb on Nov. 12, 2012, before another motorist signaled for her to pull over.
After she eventually stopped, she lit up 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. “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 Wilkins.
He described her “extraordinary callousness” when, at one point, she swerved in a bid to shake Moreno off the car instead of stopping to seek medical assistance for him.
The victim’s niece, Alyssa Moreno, said, “Phillip died alone . . . that night will forever play in my head.”