Clovis Woman Fights Drunk Driving Charges

August 19, 2008 7:05:48 PM PDT
Donna Pottorff's attorney hopes a blood test will clear the 53-year-old woman. Pottorff is facing vehicular manslaughter for killing a local immigrant who had a very large family.Pottorff was covered in bruises and wore a neck brace during her arraignment on Tuesday. The injuries happened nearly three weeks ago while she drove on a curvy section of Auberry road. Investigators accuse Pottorff of being drunk and crashing into a pick up truck driven by Chou Thao Her who had 11 children. She died in the crash.

Pottorff's Defense Attorney James Wasson told a judge in court, "There was a blood test in this case and it was a .04" Wasson points to that blood test as proof his client was not legally intoxicated. Investigators claim a breathalyzer test showed Pottorff had a blood alcohol level of .128. A second test was given. It indicated a .116. The legal limit in California is .08. Wasson said there's a good reason for the discrepancy, "Mrs. Pottorff was injured in the accident, pinned in. That can cause pressure on your abdomen and diaphragm and force alcohol up into your esophagus."

Wasson said Pottorff is deeply saddened by the woman's death. But he claimed this could be a case of driving while sleeping. Wasson said, "This is a novel case to the extent that my client had taken a sleeping pill eleven hours before."

Her's husband was critically injured in the crash. A family spokesperson told us he is still recovering.

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