The case of a Deschutes County woman accused of killing a cyclist with her car while high on pharmaceutical drugs remains on track for a trial in late January, more than a year after the incident took place.
Attorneys in the case of Shantel Witt sparred over what information needs to be disclosed ahead of the trial date in Deschutes County Circuit Court on Monday.
Ultimately, Judge Michael Adler determined that both sides must provide a list of witnesses that will be called during the trial by Jan. 4, 25 days before the manslaughter trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 29. Adler also ruled that both sides must reveal pertinent information for an upcoming hearing by Wednesday.
The incident occurred Dec. 30, 2017. Witt, driving a pickup truck on Dodds Road east of Bend in unincorporated Deschutes County, crossed the centerline of the road and hit Marika Stone, a cyclist traveling along the road with two friends, police said. Witt was arrested, and officers asked to take a blood sample based on suspicion that she may have been driving while impaired, according to court documents.
After she initially objected to the test, Witt consented to a test at St. Charles Bend about two hours after the accident. The test revealed that Witt had three controlled substances — Alprazolam (Xanax), the muscle relaxant Carisoprodol and the tranquilizer Meprobamate — in her system while she was driving.
In April, Witt pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree manslaughter, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, and several charges related to possession and use of controlled substances.
Much of the recent discussion in the case has to do with the use of the blood test as evidence. In a motion filed Oct. 1, Bryan Donahue, Witt’s lawyer, filed a motion to suppress the result of the blood test on the basis that it was taken without a warrant, and thus violates the Oregon Constitution, as well as the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“In the present matter, law enforcement performed warrantless seizures of defendant’s blood, for which no warrant exception applies,” the motion reads.
Attorneys for the prosecution responded by noting that Witt consented to the blood draw, and blood testing based on probable cause represents an exemption to the need for a warrant, as a delay in testing would result in a loss of evidence.
A hearing on the motion to suppress is set for Dec. 10.
Witt also faces a $32 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Stone’s estate.
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