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Woman convicted in drunk driving crash

A Montgomery County jury has found Kelli Smith, of Columbia, guilty in a wrong-way crash that left one man dead.

Jurors deliberated more than thirteen hours before returning the verdict a little after 3:30 Friday afternoon. The panel then went into the sentencing portion of the case.

A major topic in the case had been evidence of Smith possibly being drugged and raped before the wreck.

The defense’s last witness was a doctor who explained how Smith’s blood sample wasn’t accurate because it was taken hours after the crash and then left not refrigerated for days.

The doctor testified during those nine days her blood could have fermented into alcohol because of her high glucose levels combined with a fungus growth, giving the .085 BAC result.

The prosecution produced a paramedic who helped Smith the night of the crash and said she smelled alcohol on her breath.

The crash happened in February 2012, killing Thomas Sullivan II, who was driving home from work in Kansas City to Wentzville.

Jurors recommended a five year prison sentence for Smith, the minimum sentence for her charge. The defense asked multiple members of Smith’s family and co-workers to tell the jury about Smith before and after the crash. Smith’s roommate, Katie McLean, said Smith told her she’d never drink again after the crash.

Mike Webber of the Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services said Smith never violated SCRAM, the Secure Controlled Remote Alcohol Monitoring program used for her since May 2012.

Thomas Sullivan’s brother gave a victim impact statement. After delivering the eulogy he gave at the March 2012 funeral, he told the jury about the lingering effects the crash had on him and his family.

“It’s a psychological Hell that Kelli has wreaked upon our family,” he said.

Members of Sullivan’s family remembered him as a loving father who made the trip to work at the GM plant in Kansas City to provide for his family.

A Montgomery County judge will decide Smith’s sentence on February 4 at 8 a.m.

(Editor’s note, 9:19 p.m., 12/12: The subheadline on the story has been changed to no longer read “Smith jury rejects rape claims and convicts.” It’s unclear if the jury dismissed the rape allegations brought up in court.

The edit also fixes the time the jury returned to the courtroom with their decision. An earlier version of the story said the jury returned just after 4:30 p.m. and took around fifteen hours to decide.)

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