The woman charged with manslaughter in the deaths of a Louisville police officer and University of Kentucky employee had completed DUI classes for a previous conviction and license suspension only a few weeks earlier, according to court records.
Suzanne M. Whitlow also had a history of violating probation by drinking alcohol and failing to complete substance abuse or alcohol counseling, those Fayette County court records indicate.
Whitlow, 26, of Lexington is accused of driving under the influence when she struck Louisville detective Jason Schweitzer and Timothy Moore, 56, of Lexington about 2:30 a.m. Saturday at South Upper and Bolivar streets. Whitlow was driving outbound on Upper when she lost control of her vehicle and struck Schweitzer and Moore.
Moore, a third-shift employee in UK’s Heating and Cooling Division at UK’s Peterson Service Building on South Upper, was at work at the time of the accident.
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Moore’s boss, Mike Duffy, said Moore and some co-workers were standing in the doorway to the plant that looks out onto Upper, watching the Saturday evening nightlife wind down.
“These two individuals asked him for directions to Tolly Ho (restaurant),” Duffy said. “One guy started across the street, but the other guy was still chitchatting with Tim a little bit, when the car came.”
Now families and co-workers are contemplating funerals and remembering the two who died.
Moore, who was named UK Employee of the Quarter in 2015, was a Navy veteran with three children and 12 grandchildren. He was a year away from retirement.
Duffy said he always called Moore “Columbo,” based on the bumbling TV detective played by Peter Falk.
“He kind of looked like Columbo, and he was a whole lot smarter than he acted,” Duffy said. “But he always knew the answers, he had an eye for details and he knew his job inside and out.”
Moore’s coworker, Shawn Altizer, said no one knew more about the plant than Moore. When Altizer was hired in 2009, Moore took him under his wing.
“He showed me the ins and outs, what pipes not to touch,” Altizer said. “He was a very nice guy, very generous, very patriotic. If you were having a bad day, he’d let you rant about whatever — he’d say ‘after six years of the Navy, I’ve either heard it or seen it or both.’ We’d make each other laugh.”
UK spokesman Jay Blanton called the death a “terrible tragedy for his family and for his UK family. Mr. Moore was one of the people that keep the place running day in and day out. It is a tremendous loss.”
Schweitzer was in Lexington for an FOP convention. The Louisville police department said the detective, who was expecting his second child, began his career with the Jefferson County Police Department in 2001 and had been a detective with the Louisville Metro Police Department. He was vice president with River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614 since 2010.
Gov. Matt Bevin expressed his condolences on Facebook.
“I had an opportunity to meet with Jason a few months ago,” Bevin said. “He was part of multi-generational family of law enforcement officers and his presence on the force and in his community will be greatly missed.
“We are heartbroken for his wife and children, both born and unborn, at the news of this devastating loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family, both now and in the months and years ahead.”
Whitlow, who has been charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter and one count of DUI first offense, remained hospitalized Monday at UK Chandler Hospital, police said.
She was issued a certificate of completion for finishing alcohol driver education classes on Oct. 6, according to court records. She was ordered to attend because of a 2014 DUI conviction that suspended her license.
In the August 2014 DUI arrest, Lexington police stopped Whitlow at East New Circle and Nicholasville roads. A uniform citation said she displayed “glassy eyes and unsteady gait” and failed field sobriety tests. Her blood-alcohol was measured 0.10. In Kentucky, a person who registers 0.08 or above on a breath test is considered legally impaired.
Whitlow was not charged with a second-offense DUI after the weekend deaths. Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said at the time of the crash, officers didn’t know the woman’s criminal history. Angel expects the charges to be upgraded.
Even before the 2014 DUI conviction, Whitlow was repeatedly ordered to get assistance for substance abuse or alcohol issues. She repeatedly failed to follow court restrictions on alcohol use and temporarily landed back in the Fayette County jail, records show.
In 2010, Whitlow pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor involving forged checks. Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell sentenced her to one year in prison and probated the sentence for five years.
When she violated probation, admitting the use of alcohol in February 2013, Bunnell ordered Whitlow to undergo a substance abuse assessment and to follow any recommendations. Whitlow was also ordered to complete 40 hours of community service.
Whitlow violated probation again in January 2014, when she admitted to drinking alcohol at Saddle Ridge night club. She was ordered to perform another round of community service and to complete additional counseling.
Court records indicate that Whitlow was ordered to report to probation and parole weekly for drug testing. She did as ordered from late June to late July 2014, but then failed to report after July 30, 2014.
She also violated probation by failing to attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings and not taking verification of her attendance to a probation and parole officer. She also failed to complete treatment for substance abuse.
She went to jail, and in January 2016, the Fayette County Detention Center and a probation officer recommended that Whitlow be granted work release. Judge Bunnell granted that release with electronic monitoring.
But that same month Whitlow was cited for operating a motor vehicle on a suspended/revoked license. She pleaded guilty in February 2016 and paid a $100 fine and court costs.
Services for Louisville police officer
Funeral mass for Jason Schweitzer will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Michael Catholic Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive, in Louisville. Burial will follow at Cave Hill Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ratterman Funeral Home, 12900 Shelbyville Road, East Louisville; and at the church from noon until 1 p.m. Wednesday. F.O.P Lodge services will be at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to F.O.P. Lodge 614 Officers Relief Fund.