Could Lori Phillips Have Been Prevented from Her DUI Murder?
City prosecutor says yes
The 58-year-old drunken driver who's been convicted of killing a young father two years ago has yet to be sentenced for those crimes, But Lori Phillips was sentenced Monday for different DUI charges.
The question is, could the repeat offender have been stopped sooner since the courts knew about her history? Lori Phillips pled guilty to five previous DUI charges. She was sentenced to about 2 years. But she committed those crimes before she killed Louis Clement. And for his seriously injured fiancée and mother of his kids Joyua Stovall, it’s too little too late.
Joyua and the municipality say Phillips' dangerous behavior should have been stopped sooner because it had been going on for decades. “I do want to take this opportunity to tell them how greatly sorry I am for what's happened as result of the accident in November,” said Lori Phillips in District Court Tuesday.
But those are words Joyua Stovall doesn't believe. “She tried to apologize, but it wasn't even emphatic or anything, you can just tell she was just saying it.” The young mother has lost organs and her broken body is still healing – all because of what Lori Phillips did in November of 2009 when she drove drunk near Potter Marsh and crashed her SUV into a sedan, severely injuring Stovall and killing Louis Clement, the father of her two kids.
“I got metal all through me right here, my ribs were broke,” said Stovall. “No matter what, in the future I have to look forward to surgery, more medication and more problems all because of this.”
It's a tragic situation city prosecutors say could have been avoided, because Phillips has been following a pattern for two decades. “The court didn't heed our warning and didn’t recognize the same way the city did that she is a huge danger,” said Jennifer Messick, the assistant municipal prosecutor.
In 1983 Phillips was arrested in Alaska for a DUI, followed by another in 1986 in Washington State. Then yet another in 2005 when she led police on a chase and was eventually run off the road. “That, combined with the history in 1986 and the facts in the current case in 2005, gave the city great concern,” said Messick. But prosecutors say even though she was facing jail time Phillips refused treatment and got another DUI in 2009. “She was so intoxicated she couldn't stand up on her own, she couldn't walk on her own and they had to help her in the back of the ambulance,” said Messick. With her probation violated, Phillips was supposed to plead guilty for the 2005 and 2009 charges, but the case remained on hold. Then she drove drunk again in November of 2009 and killed Clement. That shouldn't have happened, Messick says because the evidence clear. “We made some minor changes, but the end result was at some point are hands were tied, you do everything you can do and its not always one hundred percent effective.”