Tidbits of information continue to trickle out related to the spate of three wrong way crashes that killed 7 motorists on Phoenix area freeways in three separate crashes in less than a week.
The suspect in the third wreck, Patricia Murphy was apparently drunk at the time, and additionally tested positive for some drugs. The wreckage of the Ford F-150 pickup she was driving is shown at right.
Court records show that Murphy’s blood-alcohol content was .18 percent. A driver is presumed to be legally drunk in Arizona at .08 percent. She also tested positive for benzodiazepine and opiates, according to court documents. — azcentral.com
Murphy as well as her passenger, her 9-year old grandson, were injured. Charges have not yet been filed, and may not be for awhile depending on her injuries; charges for driving while impaired causing death will normally be 2nd degree murder; two counts since two victims died. She would also likely face an additional felony charge for driving impaired with a minor in the vehicle.
More about this wreck the “third” head-on
More about the earlier two headon wrecks.
No Contest Plea in Fatal Oct Freeway Head-on
A no-contest plea was entered in a Oct 6, 2013 freeway head-on to charges of 2nd degree murder and aggravated assault:
…Police say Benjamin Kuzelka, 28, was intoxicated when he crashed head-on into another vehicle, killing a female passenger and injuring the driver, while driving northbound on southbound State Route 51 at about 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 6. Kuzelka said he pleaded no contest because he did not have a solid memory of the collision due to injuries he suffered and his level of intoxication at the time of the incident. The woman killed in the collision, Mary A. Boysman, of New York, was riding in the backseat of a limo service SUV… azcentral
There was a horrendous amount of prior bad acts by this young man; the local press seems to have ignored or missed. Multiple articles, though, syracuse.com (the victim was from Oswego) covered it — many arrests, highlights being multiple prior DUI’s and a felony explosives charge(!). Sentencing should be interesting… or did the prosecutor cook up some deal for the perp; priors are supposed to weigh heavily into the sentencing formula.
Kuzelka has been arrested three times for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol… The intoxicated driving arrests account for three of Kuzelka’s 10 arrests. All together, Kuzelka has paid $1,178 in fines and faced 18 charges through eight separate misdemeanor or traffic arrests dating to March 2007, the court records show. He was arrested again in October 2009 for the felony charges of making explosives and growing marijuana at a day care center
Kuzelka ultimately was sentenced to 16 years on Aug 15,2014. His lawyer had some interesting comments:
Kuzelka’s conviction is the first since that rash of wrecks grabbed the public’s attention. But already the state had been clamping down. Kuzelka’s attorney John Penner noted that defendants in fatal DUI crashes used to be charged with manslaughter [since when? I think/guess that was the point the journalist was making about the 2008 case], but increasingly courts are seeing second degree murder cases like his… In 2008 a CA man pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder after killing a Chandler man and his son in a wrong-way collision