Third-degree murder charges in fatal Taylor crash
Last Modified: February 16. 2013 10:00PM
That's how a police affidavit describes the conduct of a Taylor woman facing murder charges in a July 21 crash that left two other borough residents dead after she collided with their Ford Focus at nearly 96 miles per hour.
And, police allege, Sherry Hubert, 45, admitted she had driven up Oak Street at a high rate of speed that afternoon trying to "jump the hills" and "do belly floppers" at the request of three juvenile passengers.
Kim Smith, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene. Lydia Riley, 58, died of her injuries July 27 at Geisinger Community Medical Center.
Hubert, of 143 Village Drive, was arraigned Saturday on 24 counts, including two counts each of third-degree murder and homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. She was committed to Lackawanna County Prison.
According to the affidavit filed by Taylor Police, Hubert's driving privileges were suspended at the time of the accident due to a previous DUI-related offense. Police said tests after the crash showed Hubert's blood-alcohol content to be 0.208 percent, as well as detecting evidence of marijuana in her system.
The 1997 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Hubert was traveling about 96 miles per hour in a 25 mile-an-hour zone on Oak Street prior to striking the Focus at Oak and Third streets, a state Police reconstruction determined.
Taylor Patrolman John Harrison said he "detected a strong odor" of an alcoholic beverage on Hubert's breath "as well as her having slurred speech and glossy eyes" when he questioned her at the scene.
"Officer Harrison asked Hubert if she had been drinking and was she drunk," the affidavit states, "to which Hubert replied that yes, she had been drinking and she was drunk."
On further questioning, Hubert allegedly told police that she had stopped to buy alcohol on the way home from a trip to Wal-Mart and had consumed one can of malt beverage Four Loko before resuming the trip home.
"She stated that she had driven up Oak Street at a high rate of speed in order to 'jump the hills' on Oak Street as the kids had asked her to do," the affidavit states. She turned around at the Turkey Hill convenience store "and proceeded going east back down Oak Street at a high rate of speed, which she described as 'flying like a bat out of hell.'"
Police said the juveniles were interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center after the crash, where they said that Hubert almost crashed into a vehicle in front of her while traveling west up Oak, then turned around at the Turkey Hill to attempt the game headed eastbound at a speed "which frightened all three of them."
The juveniles told investigators they spotted the Ford Focus traveling east in front of them and tried to warn Hubert, "to which she ignored their warnings and responded that she (had) everything under control," the affidavit states.
When she came over the final hill, Hubert said, the Focus was in the middle of the road. She told police she swerved, but could not avoid a collision.
"Hubert then stated that following the collision she went over to the Ford Focus and knew that the driver was dead," according to the affidavit.