A former nurse who crashed her SUV into a building in Texas in 2012 was found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault on August 29. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before reaching the verdict.
The accident happened a day after the woman had been released from the hospital after suffering a seizure. She was under the influence of the drug morphine at the time of her release from the hospital, and the hospital sent her home in a cab. According to prosecutors, she ordered the cab to stop at a local seafood restaurant where her car was parked and then drove herself home. While there, she took prescribed Percocet pills and went out in her car again, which led to the fatal accident. The prosecution said she ingested four times her prescribed dosage.
The defense argued that the hospital was partially to blame for the accident because they released her without supervision. The defense also claimed that hospital records were changed after the crash to state that the woman was told not to drive.
A police officer testified that the woman had been involved in a 2009 crash that resulted in a DWI charge she admitted to having taken Percocet prior to that incident. The woman could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years for each conviction.
Someone who is charged with manslaughter after a motor vehicle accident could be found liable a subsequent wrongful death suit, and the results of a criminal trial would have no bearing on the civil suit.
Source: KVUE, “Former nurse found guilty of manslaughter”, August 29, 2014