This time the Midnight Killer comes in an unlikely description: a twenty-one year old woman with a blood-alcohol level above .10. Ashley Tolbert was charged last week with first-degree manslaughter for an 11:45 PM accident on Lake Murray, OK on June 1. Prosecutors say Tolbert was drunk when she ran her 2004 Baja Outlaw at high speed onto shore. One passenger died and two others were injured. She faces four years to life if convicted.
|KTEN’s Hailee Holliday on Ashley Tolbert’s deadly crash.|
See local TV video report about the accident...
The Midnight Killer Strikes Again
Billy Edwin Miller, 32, died at a local hospital, troopers said. He was one of four people in a boat that crashed into a peninsula at Tucker Tower on Lake Murray about 11:45 PM, June 1.
Investigators said the operator of the boat, Ashley Jane Tolbert, 21, of Wilson, left the marina and was heading toward a cove to meet up with another boat. She didn't see the peninsula and struck it, causing the 20-foot speedboat to go airborne, spin around and land on some rocks.
All four people onboard were ejected, troopers said. Tolbert, Miller and passenger Savanah Burch, 22, of Wilson, became pinned under the boat. Another passenger, Christopher Auten, 37, of Ardmore, landed in some trees.
Burch was treated and released at the hospital, the patrol said. Auten refused treatment. Tolbert was admitted to the hospital in stable condition.
Alcohol, the Wonder Drug
Trooper Betsy Randolph said alcohol was found in the boat and Tolbert smelled of alcohol. Authorities recently said she was found to have had an alcohol level over .10, which is the state’s limit for boating. The state’s limit for driving an automobile is .08.
Her court date is Sept. 5th. If convicted she could receive 4 years to life for first degree manslaughter.
You Be the Judge!
We do not know anything more about this tragic accident than what is published above. Regular readers of this site know how we stand on driving fast at night and on drinking and driving. Yet, this boat driver is a young woman and we assume she has had no prior arrests. The three passengers with her all presumably knew she was drinking and might be impaired. They exercised their free will and chose to not only ride with her, but to do so at a high rate of speed in the dark. We feel that each of the passengers also carries a burden in this accident because none of them stopped Ms. Tolbert from driving so recklessly. Indeed, the deceased was 32 years old, 11 years older than Ms. Tolbert, and another passenger, Christopher Auten was 37. We have two older men with two younger women, and the men could and should have exercised their right to insist that Ms. Tolbert slow down and drive safely, or not at all. For that reason, we argue for a light sentence for Ms. Tolbert.
There will be others who feel that since she was the skipper of the vessel it was her responsibility to keep everyone safe. She not only broke the law by drinking enough alcohol to have a blood level over .10, but she also recklessly disregarded many boating safety rules and common sense. For these reasons she deserves a harsh sentence not only in punishment for her deeds but as an example to others who might consider driving a boat at night fast under the influence.
You be the Judge…