Charges against an Edinburg woman involved in a fatal traffic accident on Nov. 23 have been held for court.
Marilyn J. Gallagher, 50, of Ben Franklin Highway, was the driver of a sport utility vehicle in a collision that claimed the life of 22-year-old Michael Peace of Edinburg. The 11 p.m. accident happened on Route 422 West in front of Michaelangelo’s Flea Market.
Joshua Hulton, 23, whose address was unavailable, was driving the truck in which Peace was a passenger. He also sustained injuries.
Gallagher is charged with homicide by vehicle while under the influence, two counts of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, careless driving resulting in death, driving in the wrong lane of traffic, involuntary manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person. She is free on $10,000 bail.
Pulaski Township officer Eric Berger, who investigated, testified at her preliminary hearing yesterday before District Judge Melissa Amodie.
He said a blue pickup truck and red sport utility vehicle had collided, and Hulton was lying on the ground. Peace was deceased when he arrived.
Berger said Gallagher answered questions at the scene, but her response was delayed, her speech was slurred, and her eyes were bloodshot and glassy.
She was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, Berger said, and he questioned her at the state police station after she was discharged.
Berger said that based on a blood sample results from the hospital, seven prescription drugs — six used to treat anxiety — and Oxycodone were identified in Gallagher’s blood. She told him she had prescriptions for all of the drugs except for the oxycodone, he said.
Berger agreed with defense attorney David Acker, that a mouth injury she suffered could have caused slurred speech, and the accident could have contributed to her disorientation.
The officer said he had smelled alcohol on Hulton, but he was not cited for driving under the influence.
Assistant district attorney William Flannery called state police Cpl. David P. Fries Jr., to testify about the accident reconstruction.
Fries concluded that Gallagher’s westbound vehicle had crossed the center line and struck Hulton’s eastbound pick-up truck almost head-on.
Information obtained by downloading the airbag module of the SUV showed that Gallagher’s vehicle had been traveling at 74 miles per hour upon impact, Fries said, and that within eight seconds of the collision there was no indication a brake had been applied.
He noted there were no pre-impact skid marks on the highway.
Kimberly Lepore of Union Township, said Gallagher had gone to her home around 5 p.m. that day and took Soma, a muscle relaxant, and that Gallagher passed out on her couch for three hours.
She said Gallagher awoke around 8:45 p.m. and went with Greg Wilmouth to get coffee.
“We told (Wilmouth) to bring her back, that we’d drive her home,” Lepore said.
She said the two returned about 11 p.m. and as she prepared to drive her home, Gallagher drove away.
“Greg said she’d had coffee and she appeared to be all right to drive a half-mile up the road,” Lepore said. “I knew she was in no condition to drive.”
Lepore said 15 to 30 minutes after Gallagher left her house, she heard sirens.
“I called her home. Her son said she was not there.”
Lepore said Benedict and Wilmouth jumped into a car and drove to the accident scene, where they saw Gallagher’s vehicle.
“The firemen said she’d been in an accident and was taken to the hospital,” Lepore said.