The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney's Office filed the charge of vehicular homicide against Engre Louise Brown yesterday, Dec. 9, in Clallam County Superior Court.
Brown is accused of crossing the center line of traffic on U.S. Highway 101 at about 1 a.m. Oct. 8 near Kitchen-Dick Road and colliding head-on with Benjamin Merscher's vehicle, killing him.
Washington State Patrol reports allege Brown, 28, of Sequim, had a blood alcohol level of 0.18. The legal limit in the state is 0.08 and the threshold for more extreme driving under the influence penalties is 0.15.
Washington State Patrol troopers also reported Brown had been driving that night without insurance and without a valid driver's license, something she reportedly has a record of doing in Clallam County over the past eight to nine years.
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Ken Williams set bail for Brown's release at $350,000.
Merscher, 25, of Sequim, grew up in the area and graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in business administration about one year before the collision. Paramedics who responded to the scene of the crash tried to resuscitate Merscher, but his injuries were too severe.
Brown also received very serious leg and internal injuries as a result of the collision and was taken to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles before being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for initial treatment.
While in the Port Angeles hospital, a Washington State Patrol trooper took a section of a marijuana pipe that allegedly was on Brown's person into evidence. The trooper also called for the removal of some of Brown's blood for drug and alcohol concentration tests. The trooper's report indicates the blood came back positive for marijuana as well as alcohol.
After being released from Harborview, Brown was transported to a rehabilitation clinic on Bainbridge Island, where she stayed while she recuperated from her injuries.
Troopers arrested her when she was released from the clinic Dec. 2. She appeared in court for arraignment on the vehicular homicide charge as well as on an outstanding warrant for her arrest for failure to appear in court in August for a 2006 driving while under the influence charge.
Brown's Dec. 9 charge brings with it a class A felony status, which means the maximum penalty is life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Engre Louise Brown, who is facing vehicular homicide charges in Clallam County Superior Court, has a list of local driving and substance related infractions, according to District and Superior court documents. Not all DUI cases are listed.
• Oct. 23, 2000 - Guilty of first-degree negligent driving.
• Dec. 23, 2004 - Guilty of third-degree theft, use of drug paraphernalia.
• Aug. 22, 2005 - Guilty of driving without insurance, reckless driving.
• Sept. 16, 2005 - Guilty of driving without insurance.
• Oct. 24, 2005 - Guilty of driving with a suspended driver's license.
• Nov. 18, 2005 - Brown is charged with possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana. After entering deferred prosecution, Brown saw charges dismissed in October 2006.
• June 1, 2006 - Guilty of driving without insurance, suspended license.
• Nov. 13, 2006 - A Port Angeles woman sues Brown for crossing the center line of traffic and colliding with her. Case was dismissed Oct. 1, 2008, after a settlement.
• June 12, 2006 - Charged with DUI, driving with a suspended license. Brown failed to appear in court, had warrant for her arrest on Oct. 8, 2008.
• Nov. 16, 2006 - Admitted to probation violation.
• Dec. 31, 2007 - Brown arrested in her home where police reportedly found a large amount or marijuana, 10 growing plants. No charges filed against Brown.
• Oct. 8, 2008 - Brown arrested for vehicular homicide after allegedly crossing the center line, crashing into and killing Benjamin Merscher while intoxicated, without insurance or a valid license.
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