DUI, manslaughter suspect was counselor

Nov. 27, 2012 at 3:38 PM
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TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A California woman accused of hitting a pedestrian and driving 2 miles with his body on her car's hood was a substance abuse counselor, officials confirmed.

Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 51, of Torrance allegedly hit Phillip Moreno, 31, at 11:25 p.m. Saturday as Moreno was walking home from a bar. Police said Wilkins panicked and kept driving until other motorists managed to stop her and take the keys out of her car's ignition.

Wilkins had recently posted on her MySpace page that "she used to be into drugs very heavy" but "terrible choices" came with that, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. She wrote that she had been sober for 11 years and had turned her life around -- re-establishing relationships with her family and becoming a state-certified drug and alcohol counselor, the newspaper said.

Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said Wilkins' blood-alcohol level when she allegedly struck Moreno was more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent. He said she told investigators she was coming home from work at the time of the crash, but Twin Town Treatment Centers President David Lisonbee told the Times the center only had Saturday meetings during daytime hours.

He said center officials had no "indication that she was in a danger zone."

The Times reported said Wilkins faced charges in 2010 of driving under the influence, hit-and-run and being under the influence of a controlled substance when she allegedly struck a utility pole and caused extensive property damage to other cars. The charge was dismissed because her blood-alcohol level was zero and there was a "low" level of drugs in her system.

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