A year after an intoxicated driver seriously injured a pedestrian in a crosswalk, a Costa Mesa woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, and for causing brain injury and paralysis.
In December 2011, 17-year-old Crystal Morales, a senior at Newport Harbor High School, was using a crosswalk at the intersection of Irvine Avenue at Margaret Drive when she was struck by a car. Morales was rushed by ambulance to Western Medical Center, where she was placed in an induced coma while she received treatment for a traumatic brain injury.
The driver of the SUV which struck the teen was 39-year-old Marnie J. Lippincott. Although Lippincott stopped at the scene of the Orange County pedestrian accident, she was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Hours after the crash, Lippincott had a blood alcohol level of 0.05. In addition, she tested positive for several other substances, including methadone, sleeping pills, diet pills, and anti-anxiety medication.
Morales suffered from swelling and bleeding in the brain, as well as other internal injuries. A year after the traffic accident, she told the court she is still recovering from the accident and suffers from a number of cognitive difficulties. She said she has had to put aside her teenage life and schoolwork to concentrate on her recovery.
Lippincott has a criminal history which includes burglary, theft, and illegally obtaining prescription drugs. She pled guilty to the DUI charges.