Well, as I suspected, things HAVE been moving along in Geauga County behind the scenes. I wrote recently that it seemed like nothing was happening in the case of Kelly Cox, who killed Judge Chip Henry in May. I was hopeful that authorities were examining phone records, toxicology reports or other forensic data before charging the driver. Today we learn that a sealed indictment was filed – and Kelly Cox was indicted by a grand jury on numerous charges.
The biggest news, by far, was the toxicology report – Kelly Cox is charged with driving the Pacifica which killed Judge Henry with a HUGE Blood Alcohol level – Ohio’s legal limit is 0.08%, as most of you know. Kelly Cox’s tox report says she was driving with a BAC of 0.284%.
Kelly Cox has been charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide based on the BAC [2nd degree felony], DUI [1st degree misdemeanor], Aggravated Vehicular Homicide based on reckless misconduct [3rd degree felony] and Operating a Vehicle with Willful and Wanton Disregard for the Safety of Others [minor misdemeanor]. She has also been indicted on charges that she failed to stop at an accident [3rd degree felony] and 2 counts of Child Endangerment [1st degree misdemeanor] based on her driving while totally blitzed with two children in the car.
Just to remind you of what a horrific crash this was, here’s a shot of Kelly Cox’s car….
Ms. Cox was arraigned in court today [August 17]. All the local judges had to recuse themselves as they knew Judge Henry so a visiting judge will hear the case. Ms. Cox plead not guilty through her attorney.
The reason we couldn’t find anything online through the Clerk’s office is that the indictment was filed “under seal” – or privately and away from public viewing. Now that the case is active, known as Case Number 11-C- 116, we will be able to track its progress through the system.
The BAC is truly shocking. 0.28% is a VERY high number. Ms. Cox was driving a large vehicle with her step-daughter and a young child. She is very lucky she did not kill all of them as well…
I was involved in a case a few years ago in which I did a lot of research into forensic toxicology on the issue of determining BAC’s from various data and on the issue of how high a BAC a person could get to without “looking” drunk. People who are “experienced” drunks – they drink a lot – often learn how to maintain some level of relative social decorum despite huge BAC’s. In one study, people with BAC’s over 0.30% were able to fool doctors at an E/R!
Another thing that “experienced” drinkers can do is eliminate alcohol from their systems quicker than non-drinkers. For example, if you take a complete non-drinker, a moderate drinker and an alcoholic, and give them the same amount of alcohol they will show very different BAC’s an hour or two after they stop drinking. A drunk may eliminate alcohol TWICE as fast as others, so after a couple hours, the BAC of the drunk may be much LOWER than the other two.
We don’t know anything about Kelly Cox at this point. However, a 0.284% BAC is a huge number. Using a Widmark calculator, I plugged in some variables – a woman, drinking 1o drinks of liquor with 30 minutes between drinks. The calculator gives an estimated BAC over time. The chart is shown below for my hypothetical:
What this graph shows is that the BAC of the person goes UP UP UP while the person is drinking. It also shows that for 60 minutes after the person STOPS drinking the BAC continues to rise before it starts to fall. This is a very rough estimate, obviously, but it shows that even after 10 shots in 5 hrs, the BAC doesn’t get up to the .284% that Kelly Cox allegedly exhibited!
Here’s another interesting chart which shows an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to certain BAC’s with given weight. The chart for women is different than the chart for men because women and men process alcohol differently. For example, a 160 pound man who imbibes 10 drinks is estimated to have a .23% BAC but a 160 pound woman will have a .28% BAC.
Much more on this case as it proceeds. You can read a news story about the arraignment here and you can read the indictment here. We WILL be watching the criminal proceedings in this case very closely!
Here’s a shot from the Geauga County Maple Leaf newspaper which published the story about the case.
8/25/2011 – UPDATE – Dayton Judge Sentences Drunk Driver to FOUR YEARS
In May, 2010, a 34 year old woman with a BAC that was more than twice the legal limit [0.181%] struck a motorcycle, killing the 63 year old rider. She plead guilty today to aggravated vehicular manslaughter and was given a 4 year prison term by a judge in Dayton, Ohio.
The motorcyclist and his wife were riding to the “Blessing of the Bikes” – an annual event in many churches when the crash occurred.
In Geauga County, Kelly Cox is charged with driving with a BAC more than THREE times the legal limit, smashing into Judge Henry and leaving the scene. We’ll see how this case shakes out…