D.C. driver charged in death of pedestrian

The driver of a car that jumped a curb and struck a woman walking on a sidewalk Sunday afternoon in Southwest Washington had consumed two malt liquors and two shots of coconut vodka before the crash, according to police and prosecutors.

Maria Nicole Werts, 49, of Southwest was charged Monday with voluntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, authorities said.

Police identified the victim as Emmajean Gainey, 58, of Southwest.

According to a charging document filed in court, Werts was driving a white Toyota Yaris north on First Street SW and turned right through a red light at South Capitol Street. Authorities said Werts cut off a vehicle going through the green light and was “observed gesturing wildly at the honking driver.”

The court documents say the Toyota jumped a curb on South Capitol Street where Gainey and another person were walking. Police said Gainey was struck and pinned against a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said in court papers that Werts got out of the Toyota and walked away from the crash, repeatedly denying she had been driving. Police said the pedestrian who was with Gainey, the driver of the car that was cut off and a passenger in the Toyota identified Werts.

Police said that Werts failed several field sobriety tests and that her blood alcohol content measured .09, which is above the District’s legal limit of .08.

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