Casper Man Loses Leg After DUI Crash; Driver Pleads Not Guilty
Nearly two months after a drunk driving crash which cost a Casper man his right leg, the woman accused of hitting him has pleaded not guilty to two felony charges.
Kam Marie Lopez, 35, is charged with driving while under the influence causing severe bodily injury and possession of marijuana as a third or subsequent offense. She was arraigned in Natrona County District Court on Wednesday.
If convicted of both counts, she could face up to 15 years in prison.
The man she allegedly hit, Dana Patrick Young, ended up having his right leg amputated above the knee. Court documents say he was riding a motorcycle when a silver car driven by Lopez collided with him, sending Young sliding into oncoming traffic and causing a compound fracture.
Young’s wife, Candice Young, said on social media that her husband has had two amputations since the wreck. She has been raising money to help cover medical costs and travel expenses.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, the crash occurred on the morning of April 26, shortly before 10:30 a.m., in the 1600 Block of East Yellowstone Highway.
Responding police officers were able to speak with Young before he was taken to Wyoming Medical Center for treatment. He told them that he had been in the right westbound lane when he saw a silver sedan begin to pull into his lane from a parking lot. He tried to avoid the vehicle, but the car didn't stop and collided with him.
Young slid into oncoming traffic. He told an officer that he did everything he could to avoid the crash, but didn’t have enough time.
Lopez, who admitted she had been driving the car, reportedly did not have a valid driver’s license. She said that she, with a female passenger in the vehicle, had been headed to clean a house. She backed out of her parking spot and began to turn westbound onto East Yellowstone Highway when she hit Young’s motorcycle.
“I didn’t even see him coming,” Lopez reportedly told police. The affidavit notes that Lopez’s emotions continually changed throughout her conversations with officers.
One officer noticed a strong smell of alcohol on Lopez’s breath as she spoke. Her speech was slurred, police say; her eyes were red and watery. Lopez also appeared unsteady on her feet.
Lopez allegedly admitted that she had consumed “a couple shots of both whisky and vodka.” She performed poorly on field sobriety tests or did not complete them, the affidavit states.
Since Lopez was evidently unable to properly blow through a tube in order to submit a breath sample, she consented to have her blood drawn. The affidavit does not state what, if any, blood alcohol concentration was revealed by the blood test.
While the affidavit was completed and submitted by the investigating officer the day after the crash, it typically takes longer for authorities to receive the results of a blood test.
One officer arrested Lopez and took her to jail. Another searched the silver sedan and reportedly found two marijuana pipes, two bottles of vodka and a full bottle of Jägermeister.
Following her arrest and initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court, Lopez was released on bond in the amount of $20,000.
She is represented by attorney Joseph Cole. Her case has been placed on the August 26 trial stack.