Crime

Accused drunk driver blamed for deadly crash acquitted

EL PASO, Texas - A jury has acquitted the woman accused of driving drunk and killing a man, court records show.

Phylicia Pierson was charged with intoxicated manslaughter, manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the Jan. 2017 crash.

Police said Pierson was driving on I-10 west near Lomaland when she hit a vehicle driven by Morgan Engman, 26. Engman later died at a hospital.

On Wednesday, an officer who responded to the crash said she found beer cans and marijuana in Pierson's car.

Pierson allegedly admitted to having two drinks at a bar before driving home, police said.

The diposition for the manslaughter charge states "the judge and prosecutor abandoned the case."

The aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge was dismissed, court records show.

Pierson was found not guilty of intoxicated manslaughter, court records show.

Pierson's defense attorney, Justin Underwood, emailed ABC-7's Rick Cabrera the following statement:

"First and foremost, I believe it is important to remember that a young man lost his life in a tragic auto accident.  Our thoughts and prayers have been and continue to be with his family during these times.  There was not sufficient evidence to establish that Ms. Pierson was intoxicated at the time of the accident.  When blood results are taken, you are only getting a snapshot of the circumstances surrounding one moment in time.  All blood tests must be scrutinized because they are the result of governmental testing.  It is imperative that we as a society hold the government to the burden of  beyond a reasonable doubt and this includes their blood testing procedures."

The Office of District Attorney Jaime Esparza emailed ABC-7 the following statement:

"Based on the facts and circumstances of the incident, the State proceeded to trial on two charges, Intoxication Manslaughter and Manslaughter.  The Judge did not allow the jury to consider the charge of manslaughter. I am disappointed the jury was not allowed to consider the charge of manslaughter especially in light of the jury's inquiry about the second charge of Manslaughter during their deliberations."


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