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Jury acquits driver in Beaumont intoxication manslaughter case

Updated: Saturday, August 16 2014, 03:26 AM CDT

BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet


The defense attorney for Christy Arceneaux says his client was not
intoxicated when she hit and killed a bicyclist on MLK in Beaumont in
2011. He says Arceneaux had prescriptions for medication she was taking
at the time of the accident.


Christy Renee Arceneaux, her family, and friends waited outside Judge Lindsey Scott's courtroom for a verdict.


"From my understanding this is the first time Jefferson County has
actually tried a prescription only case," said Arceneaux's defense
attorney, Ryan Gertz. "Particularly one that involved being in the
therapeutic range, meaning somebody was just taking medicine as
prescribed."


Arceneaux was charged with intoxication manslaughter after hitting
and killing a bicyclist in the 300 block of South Martin Luther King,
Jr. Parkway in 2011.


"This is a normal person, she's got no criminal record, no criminal
background, and it was just an accident," said Gertz. "Unfortunately,
accidents happen, but this one was not because of intoxication."


Two prescription drugs were found in her system. Ryan Gertz says she had prescriptions for both.


"One was Xanax and it was at a therapeutic range, the other one was
an anti-seizure medication, or anti-convulsant, called Dilantin, and it
was in what you call a sub-therapeutic range," said Gertz.


Kathy Bell-Shexnaider with Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the victim's oldest daughter is upset with the verdict.


"Just, probably I would say numb to it, because she just doesn't know
what to do now, or understand it, or how it could be," said
Bell-Shexnaider.


Prosecutor Clint Woods says he's disappointed.


"Well the main thing is, and I think the public should know, it is
illegal to get intoxicated on prescription pills and operate a motor
vehicle," said Woods.


Arceneaux and her family left the courthouse. She told us she's happy
with the verdict. Supporters say they're ready to put the case behind
them. If the jury had convicted Arceneaux, she could have faced a
punishment ranging from probation to 20 years in prison. 

Jury acquits driver in Beaumont intoxication manslaughter case


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