Judge will decide on evidence in DUI crash

BENNINGTON — A judge is weighing whether to suppress evidence in the case of a Manchester woman charged with manslaughter after the woman whose car she crashed into while allegedly driving drunk last spring died.

Storm Sweeney, 45, has denied charges stemming from the April 2016 crash in Sunderland. The other driver, Jennie Noyes, 74, of Manchester, died from injuries she received in the crash three weeks later. Sweeney has been held on an alleged probation violation.

The investigating trooper read Sweeney the implied consent section of the DUI affidavit interview, her attorney, Susan Keane McManus, said in Bennington criminal court on Thursday. But the affidavit indicates Sweeney was not informed a search warrant would be required in cases where a crash resulted in the death of or serious injury to a person.

Deputy State's Attorney Alexander Burke said the trooper didn't know there would be serious bodily injury or death at the time the interview was conducted.

Judge David A. Howard is considering a request by Sweeney's attorney to suppress evidence and to dismiss the charges against her. Howard said he would issue a decision in December.

A sedan driven by Sweeney crossed the center line of Route 7A and collided with a sedan driven by Noyes on April 1, 2016, according to a Vermont State Police affidavit. Troopers suspected Sweeney was driving under the influence. At the time of the crash, she had already been facing a felony DUI charge: She had pleaded not guilty in March 2016 for an alleged offense from earlier that month.

Sweeney was charged with manslaughter after Noyes' death on April 26 at Albany Medical Center. According to an affidavit, Noyes suffered respiratory failure caused by pneumonia brought on by the injuries she received in the crash, for which she was actively being treated.

Sweeney has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of manslaughter, gross negligent vehicle operation with a fatality, and driving under the influence of alcohol with a fatality, and misdemeanor counts of driving with a license suspended for DUI and violating release conditions.

Ed Damon can be reached at edamon@benningtonbanner.com, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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