On April 28, 2013, 49-year-old Maria Werts was driving southbound on South Capitol Street when she lost control of her car and struck a pedestrian, Emmajean Gainey, 58. Gainey, who was pinned between the car and a tree, died instantly. Werts admitted to officers (after she was found to have a BAC of .09) that she drank two malt liquors and two vodka shots earlier, and she had also smoked crack cocaine.
Werts had pled guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence in May, and on Friday, July 26, D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. sentenced her to seven years in prison as part of a plea deal. Had Werts gone to trial and been convicted of the same charges, she could have received a sentence of over thirty years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward O’Connell confirmed that Werts was under the influence of alcohol and crack cocaine when she got behind the wheel of her 2010 Toyota Yaris on the afternoon that she killed Emmajean Gainey. The Yaris’ tags were expired, and Werts did not have a valid driver’s license. She had turned onto South Capitol Street in an illegal right turn on a red light, nearly striking another car and causing her to drive onto the sidewalk where Gainey was walking. Following the crash, she attempted to flee the scene, but witnesses detained her until police arrived at the scene.
The Maryland pedestrian accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins extend their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Emmajean Gainey.