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CAMPBELL COURT Woman pleads innocent in crash fatality



Published: Wed, January 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



She is accused of driving under the influence and causing her sister's death.

CAMPBELL -- A Youngstown driver accused of killing her sister in a drunken driving crash pleaded innocent Tuesday to driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Latraiel R. Alexander, 48, appeared in Campbell Municipal Court. While she also is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, Alexander won't enter a plea on the second-degree felony unless she is bound over to Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. If convicted on that charge, Alexander would face a prison sentence of two to eight years.

Alexander, wearing a sling on an injured arm Tuesday, is free on a $25,000 bond, police said.

Prosecutor Brian Macala said no jail sentence will match the grief Alexander is certain to feel the rest of her life.

"It's a family tragedy," Macala said. "It's horrible when something like this happens. ... Knowing that you are responsible for the death of a loved one is a lifetime sentence that no court could impose."

Campbell police said an intoxicated Alexander lost control of her speeding car and plowed into a utility pole along Wilson Avenue in Campbell about 1:20 a.m., killing her sister, Jorita Alexander, 49, of Youngstown.

The sister died at the scene.

Neither woman was wearing a seat belt, police said.

A witness told police the car was traveling 70 to 80 mph. The speed limit is 35.

Blood taken from Latraiel Alexander at St. Elizabeth Health Center showed an alcohol level of 0.235, nearly three times the legal limit to drive in Ohio, police said.

Police arrested Alexander on Jan. 18, the day doctors released her from the hospital.

She is seeking a court-appointed attorney. A pretrial and preliminary examination are scheduled for Tuesday.




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