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Drug counselor charged in fatal crash in California

TORRANCE, Calif. — A substance abuse counselor was charged with murder and drunken-driving Tuesday after authorities said she struck a pedestrian and drove for more than 2 miles with the dying victim embedded in the windshield of her car.

Sherri Wilkins, 51, was also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

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Phillip Moreno, 31, was crossing the street when he was hit.

Wilkins drove with him on the hood until other motorists surrounded the car and detained her, police said. Wilkins said later that she panicked after the accident and kept driving.

Wilkins is being held on $2.25 million bail.

She is a former addict who seemingly had turned her life around and was a respected drug and alcohol counselor, said her boss David Lisonbee. Despite her spotty background, including a hit-and-run arrest, her employer, David Lisonbee, CEO of Twin Tower Treatment, said Wilkins did not show signs of a relapse.

Lisonbee said it was not unusual for drug and alcohol counselors to have addiction in their own past, as well as trouble with the law, because it helps them connect with their patients.

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