Crime

Lexington woman accused of ‘extreme’ DUI in child’s crash death indicted on murder charge

A Lexington woman — who police say had an “extreme level of alcohol intoxication” in a July crash that killed a 10-year-old girl — has been indicted on murder and other charges.

Sequoyah Collins, 25, was allegedly driving more than 80 mph on July 5 when she ran a red light and struck a car at Tates Creek Road and Lansdowne Drive, police said. The speed limit on Tates Creek is 45 mph.

Alexia Gomez Hernandez, 10, died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital about four hours after the crash. Five of the six people in the Acura that was struck by Collins’ Lexus were injured. Most of the injured were children, including one who had a broken femur and another whose femur and hip were broken.

In addition to murder, the grand jury indicted Collins with two assault charges because of serious physical injuries suffered by Diego Cortez-Cruz and Edwin Santamaria-Montes, according to court records. Three wanton endangerment charges were filed over a “substantial danger of death or serious physical injury” to Mariacruz Cruz-Hernandez, Armando Cervantes and Brandon Gomez.

Collins was uninjured in the crash, and the arresting officer reported that she smelled strongly of alcohol, was unsteady on her feet, had slurred speech and had bloodshot, watery eyes. She told police she drank earlier in the night but stopped a couple of hours before driving, an officer testified.

After Collins refused a breath test, police received a warrant to have her blood drawn. Four hours after the crash, her blood-alcohol content was 0.211 BAC, which is nearly three times higher than the legal limit of 0.08, officer Stephen Dabkowski testified last month. Dabkowski also said Collins had cocaine metabolites in her system.

After initially charging her with driving under the influence, police expanded Collins’ charges to murder, wanton endangerment and assault in September. Sgt. Randall Combs said Lexington police charged Collins with murder rather than manslaughter because the speed at which she was going and her level of intoxication “shows an extreme indifference” to human life.

Last month, Collins’ attorney argued unsuccessfully for her client’s murder charge to be reduced to manslaughter. Collins’ bond was reduced from $300,000 to $150,000, but she remains in jail, according to jail records.

Judge Lindsay Hughes Thurston sent the University of Kentucky graduate’s charges to the grand jury for review, and they affirmed the charges with the murder indictment Monday.

Collins is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 7.

Mike Stunson covers breaking news and real-time news for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com. He is a 2011 Western Kentucky University graduate who has previously worked at the Paducah Sun and Madisonville Messenger as a sports reporter.
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