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Woman changes plea in fatal 2010 car crash

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:34 p.m. HST, May 30, 2013

A 25-year-old woman who killed her friend in a one-car crash in Pupukea more than two years ago pleaded guilty in state court this morning to negligent homicide and driving without a license.

Brittany Poole faces a maximum 10-year prison term for the negligent homicide and 30-day jail term for driving without a licence at sentencing in August. She entered her guilty pleas without the benefit of a deal with the prosecutor.

“She knows she made a series of very poor choices. Unique was her friend, a very dear friend. And she’s dealing with that every day,” said Steven Nichols, Poole’s lawyer.

Unique Murray, 21, died Nov. 21, 2010 when he was ejected from the back seat of the car Poole was driving.

The prosecutor said Poole was speeding, drinking beer and smoking marijuana while driving around the island with four passengers. She lost control of her car while arguing with her front seat passenger about her speeding, the prosecutor said.

Police said the car crossed the center line of Kamehameha Highway, hit a rock wall, a parked vehicle and two fences, went airborne and flipped over before slamming into a carport. Poole’s blood-alcohol content was 0.09 and police estimate her car was traveling 69 to 70 mph before the crash in a 25 mph zone. 

The legal threshold for drunk driving is 0.08 percent blood-alcohol.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment charging Poole with negligent homicide and driving without a license in August 2011.

Police were not able to locate Poole to arrest her on the charges until last September.

Nichols said Poole was homeless at the time and didn’t know she had been charged and that police were looking for her. He said that since her arrest, Poole has checked herself into a two-year residential substance abuse treatment program.

Poole has a July 2009 DUI conviction, four speeding convictions in 2009 and 2010 -- one for driving 22 mph over the speed limit and another one for driving 21 mph over the speed limit -- convictions in 2010 for driving without a license and for driving with an instructional permit unaccompanied by a licensed driver, according to state court records. She had another driving without a license charge pending at the time of the crash.

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