Opening arguments heard in 2008 vehicular homicide case - NBC40.net

Opening arguments heard in 2008 vehicular homicide case

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HAMILTON TWP. -

On November 8th 2008, Estella Mills died from injuries she’d suffered in a car accident eight days prior.

Now more than five years later, Diane Williams, the woman the state says is responsible for the deadly accident, is on trial for vehicular manslaughter and multiple counts of assault by automobile.

"Because this defendant decided to drink that night and this defendant made the decision to drive and it is an utterly reckless decision and the life ending consequences of it that bring us here,’ said Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy.

The prosecutor says Williams and her passenger, Lester Thomas, had been drinking at a Halloween party at the Root Cellar Tavern in Weymouth Township.

"They definitely had some drinks together. There's no doubt about that. The question becomes whether or not it was Miss Williams or Mr. Thomas who got behind the wheel of that vehicle,” said Steve Scheffler, Williams’ defense attorney.

According to Scheffler, the entire case hinges on whether or not the jury will believe the testimony of Lester Thomas. "Lester Thomas is the state's quote unquote star witness,” said Scheffler, “and clearly we believe that Lester Thomas was actually the driver of this vehicle."

"These emergency responders asked her, 'do you know who was driving the car?' She said, 'I was driving the car,” said Levy.

Ultimately the decision will be made by the jury, based on witness testimony and physical evidence like Williams blood-alcohol content – more than twice the legal limit – and a woman’s shoe found wedged under a pedal in the car’s driver well. "This is not as easy a case as the state would suggest and I would suggest to this jury that we wouldn't be here if it was,” said Scheffler.

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