September 15, 2016

Driver Accused of Killing Cyclist Had Record of DUI Charges


Photo Credit: Clarke County Sheriff's Office

Whitney Baker Howard's booking photos.

The woman who police say killed one cyclist and severely injured another while driving impaired Monday was charged with two other DUIs in the months leading up to the crash, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Whitney Baker Howard, 31, was high on prescription drugs and using her phone when her Jeep swerved into the other lane on Athena Drive and hit three cyclists, Ashley Block, Mitchell Enfinger and Brian Molloy. Block was killed, Enfinger remains hospitalized, and Molloy suffered minor injuries.

The ABH reports that Howard has had a severe drug addiction for at least the past four years, which resulted in her losing custody of one of her young children. (The other was in the backseat during the crash Monday.)

“Putting keys in her hand is like handing her a loaded gun with a shaky trigger finger,” a prosecuter said Wednesday during a Magistrate Court hearing where Howard was denied bond.

Howard was charged with driving under the influence in June, when she fell asleep at the wheel while leaving a Highway 29 convenience store, and her SUV rolled into another car, according to police. Another DUI charge came Aug. 26, when police say she hit a pump at a Danielsville Road gas station.

The Spring Valley Road resident faces charges of charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs, endangering a child by driving while intoxicated, failure to maintain lane and improper use of a mobile phone while driving.