Jury said drunken driver caused fatal I-70 crash, but was she really a victim too?

There’s a lot that Kelli Smith can’t remember about Feb. 25, 2012.

She doesn’t know how she ended up in her car that night, driving the wrong way across Interstate 70 in Montgomery County, 50 miles east of her home.

She can’t recall the head-on crash that killed Thomas David Sullivan II, 35, a worker at the General Motors plant in Kansas City, as he made a regular weekend trip home to the St. Louis area to see his sons, 4 and 7.

She doesn’t remember a minor crash she apparently caused a half-hour earlier, at 3 a.m., in Callaway County on the same highway.

And she can’t explain why emergency workers found her naked from the waist down, her pants crumpled in the back of her demolished car.

A brain injury suffered in the crash appears to have wiped out those memories and more.

Why were there matching bruises on the insides of her wrists, injuries to her cervix and what appeared to be marks from fingers on her inner thighs? What about handprints on the ceiling of her car? Where were her underwear, purse, cellphone and one shoe — none of which was ever found?

Smith, then 22 and employed by the Columbia Daily Tribune, said her last recollections are of being at bars with friends in downtown Columbia, then driving some male acquaintances to their nearby home.

To the Missouri Highway Patrol, many of those questions were immaterial.

A blood sample drawn more than seven hours after the crash showed Smith’s blood-alcohol content at 0.085 percent — just beyond the legal limit — with an assumption it was much higher when she drove. To investigators, it was clear: Smith was driving drunk when she killed somebody.

Case closed. She was charged with involuntary manslaughter and, in December 2014, convicted by a jury.

Source: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/jury-said-drunken-driver-caused-fatal-i–crash-but/article_669abdf5-31a1-5bb1-806a-7d0fd8a47ba7.html

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