Speeding, extremely Drunk, red-running killer nets 11 years

Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

The original story about this Dec. 27, 2014 death has a long list of horribles, emphasis added:

Preliminary test results indicated that Erica Flynn’s blood-alcohol level was .283, more than three times the legal limit, after the crash that killed 66-year-old Kathleen Mae Searcy on Dec. 27, the records show.

Flynn, 30, was southbound on Arizona Avenue in a Toyota Camry when she ran a red light and struck Searcy’s Honda Accord, which was making a left turn on a green arrow at the San Tan Freeway, records show.

Data from Flynn’s vehicle indicated she was driving at a speed of 75 mph – 30 miles over the posted speed limit – and did not brake prior to impact, according to police.

Interesting note about the black box data… there was a warrant issued 12/29/2014 that I would guess was for that.


The deal she plead to out apparently dropped the 2nd degree charge down to manslaughter. It’s still not clear to me when they charge 2nd degree vs. manslaughter. And if there ever was a case for 2nd degree, it would seem like this was it.

As a result of the lesser charge, she netted only 11 years prison. 2nd degree would be more like 15. The commissioner’s reasoning, that the aggravating balanced the mitigating factors, seem half-baked to me, but then in a few paragraphs it’s not really the whole story. In any event 11 years is far more than the presumptive sentence for a first-time felony conviction §13-702; 5 / 10 /12.5 years for presumptive / maximum / aggravated.

Minutes for CR2015100060., and here’s the sentencing minute. Maricopa County Superior Court CR2015-100060

2nd Degree vs. Manslaughter

It would seem she was in fact “manifesting extreme indifference to human life”; that is the definition of 2nd Degree Murder. Manslaughter means she merely acted recklessly. Definitions here.

  • She wasn’t just speeding, she was 30 over the posted limit
  • She wasn’t just drunk, she was greater than 3X the drunk limit
  • She didn’t just run a red light, she never touched the brakes.