Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Estell Manor Woman Convicted of Vehicular Homicide and Assault by Auto

MAYS LANDING – An Estell Manor woman was convicted of all counts in connection with a 2008 fatal two-car collision that left a woman dead, and three others injured, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
On Oct. 31, 2008, New Jersey State Police responded to County Road 557 Milepost 14.6 for a reported two-car motor vehicle accident.
The investigation determined that Diane L. Williams, then 46, was driving southbound on County Route 557 in Estell Manor when she struck a guardrail, then crossed the double-yellow center line and collided with a second vehicle moving in the opposite direction. The passenger side of Williams’ vehicle impacted the front-end of the second vehicle.

Williams’ passenger, Lester Thomas, 44, was hospitalized with serious injuries. The driver and two passengers in the second car were also injured. One of those passengers, Estella Mills, 84, of Dorothy, died in the hospital 8 days later from injuries sustained in the accident.
Williams was charged on Apr. 6, 2009 with vehicular homicide, for “driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and operating the motor vehicle in a reckless manner, resulting in a fatal motor vehicle accident.”
On February 2, 2012, an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Williams for one (1) count of vehicular homicide—a 2nd degree crime, and three (3) counts of assault by auto—a 4th degree crime.
Today, after a 10-day trial before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor, a jury found Williams guilty of all counts.
The defense conceded that Williams was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, and argued to the jury that the driver was not Williams, but rather her injured passenger, Lester Thomas, citing the presence of Lester Thomas’s blood on both the passenger and driver sides of the vehicle as evidence.
The State, represented by Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy, presented physical and testimonial evidence—including the testimony of Lester Thomas, expert accident reconstruction and medical evidence, and Diane L. Williams’ statements to State Police the night of the accident that she was the driver—that placed the seriously injured Thomas on the heavily-damaged passenger side of the car, and Williams behind the wheel.
Assistant Prosecutor Levy concluded his closing argument with a sketch of the vehicles’ impact, and asked the members of the jury to decide for themselves which seating arrangement during a passenger-side impact would push Thomas’s blood to both sides, then adjured the jury to, “Weigh all of the evidence that has been presented to you, using your own common sense.”
Judge Connor released Williams, equipped with a GPS position-locator ankle bracelet, pending sentencing scheduled for Aug. 29, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
A 2nd degree criminal conviction carries a potential penalty of incarceration in New Jersey State prison for 5-10 years. A 4th degree crime carries a potential penalty of imprisonment not to exceed 18 months.

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


Anonymous said...

Deserves maxium penalty

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