Trial to open for driver charged in child's death 4th-grader was killed when car hit her as she ran for bus

September 22, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Westminster-area woman, accused of driving under the influence in an accident that killed a 9-year-old schoolgirl in LTC December, is scheduled for trial tomorrow.

Lisa Ann McLain, 21, of the 200 block of Opal Ave. faces charges of manslaughter by auto, homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and other related traffic charges.

Ashley Elizabeth Frazier, a fourth-grader at Spring Garden Elementary School, was struck as she ran to catch a bus on Coon Club Road about 8: 30 a.m. Dec. 22, according to charging documents that led to a grand jury indictment in February. The case will be heard in Carroll County Circuit court.

The girl was flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she died that afternoon, police said.

Police said an eastbound 1990 Toyota Camry, traveling at 59 mph, hit the girl, then slid across the road and a private driveway into a yard before striking a split-rail fence and coming to a halt.

About 150 feet of skid marks were left on the road, which has a posted speed limit of 35 mph, police said.

Police said the driver initially told them she was traveling about 40 to 45 mph and was slowing for a stopped school bus when the girl ran from a driveway into the path of her car. The driver said she braked and swerved, trying to avoid the child, police said, then minutes later said she was driving about 25 mph.

Police said officers detected an odor of alcohol on the driver's breath. It is not clear whether her blood-alcohol content was ever tested.

State police said it is against department policy to release such information.

Under state law, a driver is considered under the influence with a 0.07 percent blood alcohol content. The criterion for driving while intoxicated is 0.10 percent. State law also requires that drivers involved in potentially fatal traffic accidents be tested for blood alcohol content.

Police said the driver initially denied she had been drinking, but later said she had had one beer at 10 p.m. the night before.

She later told police she had consumed three or four beers before 2 a.m., according to court documents.

McLain's attorney, Thomas E. Hickman, wrote in a January news release that his client was "not intoxicated or under the influence as those terms are defined in our state law."

Hickman, a former Carroll County state's attorney, is out of the country. His law partner, Edward Ulsch, sought to have the case postponed last month, but that request was denied.

State Motor Vehicle Administration records show that McLain received speeding tickets in 1994 and 1995, accumulating three points on her driving record.

MVA records also show that McLain was given a restricted license in May to drive for employment purposes only and that the restriction was removed Aug. 21.

Prosecutor Jerry F. Barnes, state's attorney for Carroll County, declined to discuss the case.

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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