In a recent turn of events that left observers stunned and one pedestrian dead, a California addiction counselor is being charged with murder. Sherri Lynn Wilkins hit Philip Moreno so hard that it literally knocked him out of his shoes and left him lodged in the windshield of her car. Wilkins then kept driving, Moreno hanging half-dead from her hood. She made it another two miles before other motorists were able to stop her by grabbing her keys at a stoplight. What a terrible attempt to make a getaway!
Wilkins, who faces homicide and DUI charges, told police she was on her way home from work as an addiction counselor. Police report her blood alcohol content (or BAC) was more than double the legal limit. There is no question that this woman should not have been behind the wheel. As a reporter and recovering addict, I wonder where this woman was when she consumed the alcohol.
Wilkins said she was on her way home from work as an addiction counselor, which is ironic (to say the least). She obviously panicked, but wouldn’t a dead person hanging halfway through your windshield be enough to make you stop? Ugh, gruesome! This goes to show why you really, really don’t want to drive while drunk. Rather than being charged with DUI and vehicular manslaughter, which carries less serious consequences, she is facing a second degree murder rap. Ouch!
The victim’s family has very publicly thanked the citizens who stopped Wilkins, and avoided this becoming a terrible hit and run.
“Anyone who would dare to drink and drive, let this be a lesson to them,” said family attorney Kevin Danesh outside court. The family is also seeking answers regarding the whereabouts of Wilkins in the hours leading up to the accident, he said. Her boss said it was unlikely she was heading home after work, as she told police, so late on a Saturday.
This event truly is tragic. Friends, clients, family members and co-workers had good things to say about Sherri Wilkins. Her co-worker Tami Jimenez said she went to great lengths to help clients at Twin Town Treatment Centers and that the clinic received calls from clients saying, “She saved my life.”
The case serves as a glaring reminder about the dangers of a relapse. “It’s unfortunate and it’s tragic and it’s sad, but it’s a reminder that the disease of addiction can take you out at any time,” Jimenez said.
People also had good things to say about Moreno. They said he liked beer, the Oakland Raiders, the Los Angeles Lakers, and sports trivia. He enjoyed his last day of life watching college football with his friends. He will be missed by his family and friends.
Wilkins was trying to rebuild her life after spending substantial time in prison. She has a rap sheet that includes first-degree burglary, narcotics possession while in custody, another burglary, and another possession while in custody. After serving a total of 14 years for her previous offenses, she was involved in a previous hit-and-run when she crashed into a power pole and knocked it over, leaving it behind to be hit by three additional cars. The case was later dismissed after the drivers reached an agreement out of court.
This hit-and-run will not be negotiated away, however, and Wilkins looks to spend the rest of her life behind bars.
- Flaccus, Gillian, and Linda Deutsch. “Addiction Counselor Charged with Murder in DUI.” Addiction Counselor Charged with Murder in DUI. WRIC, 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.