Motorist drove with dying man on car

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Los Angeles -

A substance-abuse counsellor who drove for two miles (3.2km) with a pedestrian embedded in her car's windscreen after she hit him while drunk was jailed for at least 55 years on Thursday in the United States.

Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 53, was convicted in February of second-degree murder, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of the crash which killed 31-year-old Phillip Moreno. She was jailed for 55 years to life.

Wilkins drove for two miles through a Los Angeles suburb on November 12, 2012, with Moreno stuck in her windscreen, before another motorist signalled for her to pull over.

When she eventually stopped, she smoked a cigarette as bystanders tried to help the injured man. He later died in hospital.

At her trial, Wilkins insisted she was not drunk at the time, although she had consumed three vodka shots with beer and tomato juice.

She said it appeared to her that the man “came from the sky”, describing it as “like a blur of something, like a flash of something”.

“It was very shocking and very strange,” she said of the incident, adding: “I didn't know what was going on... I don't feel like I had hit him with my car.”

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Henry J. Hall denied her lawyers' request for a new trial, saying there was “clearly sufficient” evidence against her.

He described her “extraordinary callousness” when she swerved in a bid to shake Moreno off the car, rather than stopping to seek help for him.

The victim's niece, Alyssa Moreno, said: “Phillip died alone... That night will forever play in my head.” - Sapa-AFP

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