No criminal intent in River Watch wrong-way crash

Motorist still facing serious traffic charges, deputies say

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 3:12 PM
Last updated Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 1:19 AM
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Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect additional comments from the Sheriff's Office.    

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Investigators examined the wreckage Dec. 10 from a four-vehicle crash on River Watch Parkway that sent six people to the hospital.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
Investigators examined the wreckage Dec. 10 from a four-vehicle crash on River Watch Parkway that sent six people to the hospital.

A woman who drove the wrong way on River Watch Parkway and crashed into three vehicles will face charges, but investigators said Friday they found no evidence of criminal intent to harm in her actions.

Monique Sullivan will be charged with reckless driving, driving on the wrong side of the road and two counts of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, police said. Toxicology results are pending.

The Richmond County sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division was called in to assist in the investigation of the Dec. 10 crash that sent six people to the hospital. One of the injured, Amelia Hiltz, 32, remains at Medical College of Georgia Hospital in serious condition.

Despite Sullivan being uncooperative with police, investigators said there was no evidence she intended to cause bodily harm when she traveled the wrong way on River Watch Parkway and crashed into oncoming traffic.

Deputies were at the scene for several hours Friday reconstructing the crash.

Police said Sullivan was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with her husband and 4-year-old son as passengers when she drove west in the eastbound lanes for three miles and hit the vehicles.

Hiltz, who was in the same lane as Sullivan, attempted to veer right before being hit by the Suburban. The Suburban then hit a car driven by Kevin Mollenhauer, 25, who was in the next lane. Mollenhauer’s car then hit Hiltz’s.

Sullivan’s SUV flipped and hit a third car driven by Augusta lawyer Maureen Floyd, 52, who was also treated for serious injuries.

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Just My Opinion
5636
Points
Just My Opinion 01/18/13 - 04:25 pm
6
0
Despite not condoning it,

Despite not condoning it, seems it works for you, at least in this case, if you just keep your mouth shut! Like they say...."anything you say, can, and will, be used against you in a court of law". I really didn't see this coming. I'm sure it's not over with though.

REDRIDER
134
Points
REDRIDER 01/18/13 - 04:42 pm
3
2
Felony

Felony is a criminal charge last time I looked it up. Takes away your rights.

TakeAHike
186
Points
TakeAHike 01/18/13 - 05:18 pm
6
0
40-6-394 - Serious injury by vehicle

"A person convicted under this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 15 years."

It appears they don't have to show intent -- extreme recklessness (or DUI) resulting in serious injuries to another party is a felony. I hope they make her serve the max consecutively for each of the two counts, i.e, for 30+ years in total.

billcass
795
Points
billcass 01/18/13 - 05:22 pm
4
2
Never talk to the police

I said this when the story first broke. You can only do yourself harm. No reason to not make the police do their job.

Grace422
239
Points
Grace422 01/18/13 - 05:38 pm
8
2
Mental note to self...

Just keep my mouth shut and there's nothing that will be done... The actions of the RC PD is sending out the wrong message.. Don't cooperate and the PD will not be able to do anything about it..If ya don't give us anything to work with we can't do our jobs.. Why is DFCS not in the mix after all she put her own child in danager in addition to everyone else involved.. The fact that she did NOT pull off the road as soon as she realized there were cars coming right at her on the same side of the road is all we need to know. Base it on her actions and not what she has to say. Slap with her with some serious charges and I bet she'll speak up then.

itsanotherday1
43280
Points
itsanotherday1 01/18/13 - 05:36 pm
9
0
Take a hike, you are correct.

Take a hike, you are correct. Whether she admits to intent or not, it is clear this woman continued up the wrong side of the road at a high rate of speed in spite of meeting oncoming traffic and an eyewitness in the correct lane trying to get her attention. She should go to jail for as long as the charges allow.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 01/18/13 - 05:47 pm
0
0
Benefits of having a lawyer
Unpublished

This is one of them.

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/18/13 - 06:29 pm
5
2
Greene Street

I presume she was trying to get to West Augusta via Riverwatch and was headed northwest on Greene Street. I was there just today, and I must admit it would be quite easy (almost reasonable) to wrongly turn left onto the Riverwatch exit ramp. The signage is terrible, almost non-existent.

The solution would be to make the Riverwatch Medical District exit ramp a right turn only at Greene Street. As it is the signage says turn right for medical district, turn left for downtown. They could put a Jersey Barrier median on Greene St. that prevents turning left onto the Riverwatch exit ramp and that forces the Riverwatch exit ramp to turn right.

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/18/13 - 06:37 pm
4
2
Exit

And speaking of the Riverwatch Medical District Exit, where is the signage on Riverwatch Parkway alerting traffic that there is an exit ahead? If it's there, I missed it. Did the DoT intend it to be a secret exit only for the cognescenti?

Why not have the exit clearly identified up ahead and with an "exit only" lane to the Medical District? Traffic headed downtown would be directed to go straight ahead on Riverwatch and to use Jones St.

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/18/13 - 06:59 pm
3
2
Remain Silent

Grace422 posted:

..If ya don't give us anything to work with we can't do our jobs..

What part of, “You have the right to remain silent,” does Grace not understand?

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 01/18/13 - 07:08 pm
5
3
Little Lamb is right. A long
Unpublished

Little Lamb is right. A long list could be compiled of instances of poor signage in Augusta. I often wonder how people from out of town negotiate the city...especially when it's dark.

luvmykitty
63
Points
luvmykitty 01/18/13 - 07:22 pm
9
0
I still cannot understand why

I still cannot understand why she went 3 MILES the wrong way, did her husband not know they were going the wrong way ? there is still something very not right about this story. Also her child was endangered as well as herself, spouse and others on the road.

AutumnLeaves
7766
Points
AutumnLeaves 01/18/13 - 08:50 pm
4
0
ATTORNEY

That is "Augusta ATTORNEY Maureen Floyd". I wonder what her professional opinion might be on whether this situation should be described as criminal or not? I'm not a legal professional, so I don't dare hazard a guess.

Grace422
239
Points
Grace422 01/18/13 - 08:58 pm
4
0
I get it lil Lamb..

If I'm guilty keep my mouth shut.. If your not it would in your best interest to work with the cops or one would assume so. Sorry if it was truely an accident why not answer questions?

dichotomy
33003
Points
dichotomy 01/18/13 - 09:31 pm
13
0
Too bad there isn't a charge

Too bad there isn't a charge for being Crazy As A June Bug. This was no accident. You don't go the wrong way on a divided highway that far, that fast, with your husband hanging out the window trying to wave off oncoming traffic by accident.

There clearly was criminal intent. At a minimum this woman needs to be locked up in a sanitarium for a while. This was an angry woman who was out in LALAPALOOZA land and didn't care who she hurt as long as it was somebody.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 01/18/13 - 09:41 pm
7
2
It's the sign's fault,

Really? Three miles? Six people sent to the hospital, one still in serious condition.

Wonder who she's connected with in the Augusta legal system. Or is this part of Sheriff Roundtree's new "second chance" system?

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/18/13 - 10:06 pm
3
2
Accident

Grace422 posted:

Sorry, if it was truly an accident why not answer questions?

1. See BillCass’s 4:22 above.

2. If it were truly an accident, it is a tragedy, and there are no questions.

mycomments
330
Points
mycomments 01/18/13 - 10:22 pm
12
0
Dichotomy nails the INTENT

"You don't go the wrong way on a divided highway that far, that fast, with your husband hanging out the window trying to wave off oncoming traffic by accident."

No further explanation needed.....

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/18/13 - 11:09 pm
7
0
What a sad world we live in...

When a woman causes great bodily harm to another, by driving in the wrong lane for 3 miles, and isn't charged with criminal intent. The least they should do is permanently REVOKE her license.
What happens to drunk drivers? Text-and-drivers?

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/18/13 - 11:37 pm
4
1
What happens to them?

They don't get their licenses permanently revoked.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/19/13 - 12:02 am
5
0
Little Lamb...

I didn't say they did. Let ME drive down the interstate going the wrong way for 3 miles and I guarantee they would criminally charge me. Probably add a few charges in there extra just because. She could have cost someone their life.

Willie Loman
267
Points
Willie Loman 01/19/13 - 12:29 am
7
0
The headline should read,

The headline should read, "Authorities unable to gather enough evidence to prove criminal intent in wrong way crash."

Willie Loman
267
Points
Willie Loman 01/19/13 - 12:36 am
6
0
I drove past the crash site

I drove past the crash site within minutes of the collision (on the correct side of the road). There is no explanation for someone to drive for 3 miles the wrong way up Riverwatch unless they wanted to hurt themselves or other people. Looks like she succeeded to a certain degree. I really feel for the innocent victims of this woman's "mistake".

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 01/19/13 - 03:43 am
7
0
Obvious criminal intent

There is no way someone could accidentally drive at a high rate of speed down the wrong way of the highway for 3 miles and not have mal-intent. She obviously knew she was going the wrong way when she was repeatedly confronted with numerous cars headed right toward her. As soon as that happened, if she had no ill-intent, she would have pulled over; she would not have continued down the highway at a high rate of speed head on into the crowd of cars. Plus she would be answering the investigatirs' questions and stating it was accidental and unintentional. Her husband was seen screaming for her to stop. She permanently ruined many lives that day and should have to pay the consequences. How can they possibly say no criminal intent if she is refusing to talk? They say they don't know what her intent was, but it was obviously criminal & not simply a mistake when you put together the facts of the case & use your common sense to evaluate what conspired here. It baffles me how the investigators could possibly reach that conclusion! Please keep her off the streets and from behind the wheel to protect the public!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 01/19/13 - 07:10 am
6
0
Drive 3 MILES the wrong way

Drive 3 MILES the wrong way and some want to say it would be quite easy to turn into the wrong lane. Would it also be quite easy to drive 3 MILES in the wrong lane without ever noticing it? Seriously? I'm a Deputy and have been for 16 years now. I HIGHLY suspect some type of intoxication. EVERY person I have encountered driving the wrong way on a four lane divided highway has either been intoxicated or elderly, nothing against the elderly, but thats the truth. Especially driving that far and still didn't stop before causing a crash. How much farther would she have went if not for the crash?

scoobynews
3854
Points
scoobynews 01/19/13 - 07:29 am
5
0
Dec. 10???

They still don't have test results back????

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/19/13 - 07:43 am
4
0
Ignition

Puppydog posted:

Her husband was seen screaming for her to stop,

I keep wondering why the husband did not reach over and turn off the ignition switch and remove the keys? Of course, I've never done that in a moving vehicle, so I don't know how hard it would be. One thing for sure, it would have been less dangerous than what actually happened.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/19/13 - 10:15 am
3
0
I feel sympathy for those

I feel sympathy for those that were injured in this crash. Praying that they have a speedy recovery. I also feel for her 4 year old child who had to witness this stup....this woman while she drove and hit vehicles. Glad her son wasn't hurt.

Little Lamb
46028
Points
Little Lamb 01/19/13 - 10:24 am
2
0
Condition

The story up above says one person remains in the hospital in serious condition. Last night Channel 12 News said the person was listed in fair condition.

americafirst
966
Points
americafirst 01/19/13 - 10:39 am
1
0
In law school, students are

In law school, students are taught about intent in the following scenario: if someone closes their eyes and repeatedly shoots a gun into a large crowd while saying to themselves "I hope I don't hit anyone", there is intent if someone is in fact shot.

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