Clovis Woman Fights DUI, Vehicular Manslaughter Charges

September 30, 2009 10:33:02 PM PDT
A Clovis woman takes the witness stand in her own defense. Donna Neely is fighting charges for killing a local mother who had 11 children.Wednesday is the first time we heard from the woman on trial for gross vehicular manslaughter. The prosecutor says Neely drove drunk and crashed into a car driven by Chou Thao Her.

Neely testified, "I took a Hydrocodone and an Ambien." Ambien is a prescription sleep aide, and what the defense blames for the August 2008 crash. Chao Thao Her died at the scene and left behind 11 children. Neely's defense attorney questioned her about that night, "When did you become aware that you'd been in accident?" Neely answered, "It was sometime the next morning. I woke up? I had a huge neck brace on, a leg brace on, IVS and I was on a morphine drip."

When Neely drove on Auberry Road, the prosecutor believes she had nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system. On the witness stand, Neely did admit to consuming 1 glass of wine more than 5 hours before the crash. The crash happened at 11 pm. Neely testified she took Ambien almost two hours earlier.

The Food and Drug Administration warns patients that Ambien can cause: sleep driving, sleep walking and memory loss. The defense blames Ambien for allowing Neely to get behind the wheel while asleep and crashing into her car.

The jury could begin deliberating the case by week's end.

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