Attorney in fatal DUI case blames victim for collision

2012-11-27T15:14:00Z 2012-11-27T15:35:47Z Attorney in fatal DUI case blames victim for collisionBy Kim Smith ARIZONA DAILY STAR Arizona Daily Star
November 27, 2012 3:14 pm  • 

The attorney for a woman facing a manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal DUI collision wants prosecutors to take the case back to the grand jury.

Tatiana Struthers doesn't think a deputy accurately portrayed how the collision between Lynn Adolph, 37, and Pauline Courcelle, 51, happened to grand jurors and she also wants them to know Courcelle had traces of marijuana in her system.

Courcelle was killed Feb. 25 when her vehicle was T-boned by Adolph's vehicle.

Deputy Ryan Roher told jurors Courcelle was making a U-turn in a dirt area adjacent to Roller Coaster Road when she was hit by Adolph.

Struthers objects to the term "U-turn". She says Courcelle was on the dirt next to the road and the traffic rules are different for making a U-turn on the roadway and turning around off-road.

"She did not stop after making the turn and re-entering Roller Coaster Road; she also did not look to her left to see if there was any on-coming traffic. If she, in fact, had stopped and looked, she would have seen the defendant's Trailerblazer," Struthers wrote. 

Struthers also thinks grand jurors might not re-indict Adolph once they learn Courcelle had the metabolite for marijuana in her system. (The results of her blood tests didn't come back until after the grand jury indicted Adolph.)

In her response, prosecutor Jennifer Copenhaver-Celi says Courcelle was making a legal U-turn, but there was no way she could complete the turn because Adolph was traveling somewhere between 60 and 79 miles an hour in a 35-mile an hour zone.

She also points out grand jurors were told Adolph was driving erratically before the collision — making a 360-degree loop in an intersection, driving on the shoulder of the road, crossing the median.

Copenhaver-Celi  also says that just because Courcelle had the metabolite in her system doesn't mean she was impaired.

No hearing has been scheduled on the matter.

If the case isn't resolved via a plea, Adolph will go to trial in May.

Judge Paul Tang is handling the case. 

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