Winn convicted of child neglect

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Leigh Ann

Leigh Ann Winn, 21, described as having ties to Lunenburg County and Blackstone, was sentenced recently in Lunenburg County Circuit Court to five years in prison with all suspended for Felony Child Neglect as the result of a drunk-driving wreck with her four-year-old child in the vehicle at 5 a.m., according to a release from the Lunenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.

Winn ran off the road on Rubermont Road about one mile east of Route 723 and overturned her vehicle in June, the release cited.

She was convicted earlier in the General District Court of Drunk Driving and sentenced to 12 months in jail with all suspended except five days in jail, a mandatory minimum sentence because her alcohol level was 0.159, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08. She also had a positive test result of cocaine metabolites.

Winn, according to the release, must be of good behavior for five years, complete one year of supervised probation, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs, successfully complete substance abuse counseling, comply with the directives of the Department of Social Services, take all reasonable precautions for the safety of her child, and specifically shall not expose children to situations that involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages by others or use of marijuana and illegal use of drugs. In addition to abstaining and not possessing alcohol and illegal drugs, defendant shall not have any alcohol in her residence and in any vehicles, whether her vehicle or not, including alcoholic beverages of other persons, the release cited.

According to Commonwealth’s Robert Clement, the incident arose on June 3 at 5 a.m. when State Trooper M. J. Snodgrass responded to the call of a one-vehicle-accident.

“He determined that the vehicle, a 2009 Jeep Patriot, had run off the road, struck a culvert pipe under a private drive, rotated counter-clockwise, and turned over on the passenger side, hitting several trees,” the release cited. “Winn was in her seatbelt, as well as her daughter was in a booster seat in the back. They were taken to the South Hill hospital with no serious injuries. The trooper found an empty beer bottle and an empty six-pack which had held beer in the vehicle.”

“When interviewed at the hospital, Winn at first would not say anything about drinking, but later told the trooper that she had drunk the six-pack of Bud Light at a friend’s house, and fell asleep,” the release continued. “She said she awoke at 4:30 a.m. and the crash happened at 5 a.m. She said she did not remember how the crash happened. The child told a Social Services worker that someone had come to the scene and took the liquor and beer bottles out of the vehicle.”

The trooper obtained a search warrant for Winn’s blood at the hospital and sent it to the state lab.

Clement submitted a summary of the anticipated testimony of the state toxicologist if the case had gone to trial.

According to the release the toxicologist reported that he had calculated an extrapolation of alcohol level and determined that Winn would have been at least 0.17 alcohol level at the time of the crash.

A driver at 0.08 is three times more likely to be in an accident, and a driver at 0.15 is 100 times more likely to be in an accident. He explained that alcohol acts as a central nervous system suppressant. It slows down critical thinking and gross motor functions. Physically it also causes blurred and double vision. It slows the reaction time—e.g.- ability to respond sufficiently to “changing road conditions” such as curves, stop signs, lane changes, etc.

According to the release, the test for cocaine on the defendant’s blood resulted in a finding of 0.076 mg/L of the metabolite for cocaine, Benzoylecgonine. This means that the cocaine in the blood was not “active” at that time (usually lasting only a few hours), and that the cocaine could have been consumed as long as 72 hours earlier.

Although this indicates that the defendant was not in the “rush phase” of the cocaine, she could still be in the “crash phase” which can last up to days later. The symptoms of “crash phase” would be dizziness, flu-like symptoms, nausea, and drowsiness.

“When combined with the alcohol found in her system, the metabolites have a negative accumulative effect by increasing the severity of the symptoms such as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, etc.,” the release cited.

The Sentencing Guidelines, according to the release, recommended probation with no active incarceration.