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State v. Hawk

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 2, 2014

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
REGINA ANN HAWK, Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals August 12, 2014.

Montgomery County. No. 11CRS051364.

Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, III, by Assistant Attorney General Carrie D. RandaMs., for the State.

Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan, PLLC, by John Keating WilesMr., for defendant-appellant.

STROUD, Judge. Chief Judge MCGEE and Judge BRYANT concur.

Page 884

Appeal by defendant from Judgment entered on or about 11 July 2013 by Judge Michael E. Beale in Superior Court, Montgomery County.

OPINION

STROUD, Judge.

Regina Hawk (" defendant" ) appeals from the judgment entered after a Montgomery County jury found her guilty of felony death by motor vehicle and reckless driving. We find no prejudicial error at defendant's trial.

I. Background

Defendant was indicted for felony death by motor vehicle under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-141.4(a1) (2011) and reckless driving under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-140(a) (2011). Defendant pled not guilty and proceeded to jury trial. At trial, the State's evidence tended to show that on the evening of 3 September 2011, defendant was hanging out with friends and drinking beer. After picking up her friend Derisa Comer, defendant drove her SUV to another friend's house to cook out and drink beer. When she arrived around 10 p.m., she told Randy East that she had consumed about three beers.

Defendant drove Mr. East, Cody Bailey, Pam Singleton, and Ms. Comer to the store to pick up more beer. Around 1:40 a.m. on 4 September, as they were driving along the rural Aunt Queen Rd., defendant veered off to the side of the road, over-corrected back to the other side, and then pulled back to the right side. When she pulled back to the right side, her vehicle flipped over. Ms. Singleton was sitting in the back seat, but was not wearing her seatbelt. She was leaning forward to change the radio when the vehicle flipped. When it flipped, Ms. Singleton was partially ejected through the passenger side window. Defendant was stuck in the driver's seat, but the two men were unhurt and were able to get out. They left to get help.

Captain Stephen Hurley, with Montgomery County Rescue, was one of the first to respond to the scene. He checked Ms. Singleton for a pulse, but found none. The medical examiner later concluded that Ms. Singleton died from traumatic brain injury. Capt. Hurley noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the car and saw some beer cans and a bottle of tequila in the vicinity. Defendant had suffered massive trauma to her scalp, so he pulled her out of the vehicle. Once out of the vehicle, defendant just kept asking for a cigarette. Capt. Hurley noticed that she was slurring her words and thought that she seemed intoxicated.

Defendant was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for treatment. Dr. Chadwick Miller treated her when she arrived. He ordered the typical battery of tests for trauma victims, including a blood ethanol test to check for the presence of alcohol. He could not say who actually drew the blood for the test, nor what specifically happened to it on that night, though he did explain their normal procedure for drawing blood and sending it to the hospital's laboratory for testing. The laboratory used a Beckman Coutler DXC analyzer to test the blood. Dale Dennard, the Director of Pathology and Clinical ...


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