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Woman charged with aggravated DUI after car-pedestrian collision

Bear Lake County Courthouse | Kalama Hines, file photo
PARIS, Idaho — A woman police say hit a pedestrian while driving intoxicated faces a felony charge.
Shelley Taunia Epstein, 50, has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence due to injuries sustained in the crash, court records show.
Montpelier Police received a call reporting a vehicle-pedestrian collision near the intersection of Washington and South 4th streets around 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 28, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Officers spoke with multiple people who rendered aid but did not witness the collision.
One of those who helped, who knew Epstein before the incident, described Epstein as being “distant” at the crash, police reports show. Officers described her in the same way, saying she did not leave the driver’s seat of her vehicle and appeared to be “shielding” officers from getting close enough to “recognize her impairment.”
Officers spoke with Epstein at the scene.
She told officers that she was traveling around 15 mph on Washington Street and was crossing 4th Street with a green light when she heard a bang and saw “legs in the air.” Epstein said she saw the victim “flipping over.”
While speaking with officers, Epstein allegedly said she did not see the victim before the collision and questioned why the victim did not use the crosswalk. Epstein said that she tended to the victim, who requested medical attention, so she called 911.
Officers noted in reports that Epstein displayed characteristics of impairment — including slurred speech and poor motor functions when retrieving her documents. The affidavit also noted that Epstein smelled of alcohol.
The victim told police she did not have any memory of the collision. Officers found a cell phone and one shoe about 10 feet from the collision. Both items belonged to the victim. She was treated by EMS for scrapes and abrasions to her legs, arms and hands, as well as hip and head pain.
Officers again spoke with Epstein, who said she had consumed two drinks that day, the affidavit says. She told officers that she felt like she was going to vomit from the emotional stress of the incident.
After apparently failing a field sobriety test, Epstein agreed to provide a written statement and taken a breathalyzer test.
The written statement, according to the affidavit, was difficult to read and looked like “a bunch of scribbles.”
She then failed to follow the officer’s instructions while taking the breath test and did not provide a sufficient sample on the first attempt. Second and third attempts returned blood-alcohol content readings of 0.142 and 0.127, respectively. (In Idaho, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or more.)
Officers later learned that Epstein had been in a local bar shortly before the collision. The owner of the bar told officers that Epstein appeared to be drunk when she arrived and consumed one drink before leaving.
The owner added that, while she was there, Epstein was disruptive to the business, and the owner asked officers to have Epstein be banned from the bar for one year.
Epstein was placed under arrest and taken to Caribou County Jail, where she was booked and is currently being held.
Though Epstein has been charged with this crime, it does not necessarily mean she committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
If she is found guilty, Epstein would face up to 15 years in prison.
She is scheduled to appear in court before Magistrate Judge R. Todd Garbett for a preliminary hearing Thursday.
The post Woman charged with aggravated DUI after car-pedestrian collision appeared first on East Idaho News.

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