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Drunk Carla Wagner Killed Skater Helen Witty
June 2000 in Miami, Florida

In June of 2000, drunk driver Carla Wagner killed inline skater Helen Witty near Miami, Florida. Both the driver and the skater were teenage girls. Here is what really happened that day.

MIAMI FLORIDA -- On April 10, 2001, 19 year old Carla Wagner pleaded guilty to Manslaughter While Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Marijuana, for killing 16 year Helen Witty, who was inline skating on a bicycle path near the road where Carla was driving.


In June of 2000, Carla Wagner was an 18 year old honor roll student at a Catholic high school in Coconut Grove, Florida - a bright girl with a promising future. But that all came to a sudden end on June 1, 2000 when her car veered off the road and smashed into 16 year old Helen Marie Witty, who was skating on a bike path adjacent to the road.

Blood tests after the accident determined that Wagner was legally drunk at the time,and had been smoking marijuana. Her blood-alcohol level was .09, and in the State of Florida, .08 is the standard for drunk driving.

This incident caused outrage in the community because Helen Witty was an A student, vice president of her high school class, a member of the drama society, and participated in a youth group at her Baptist church.

What really happened that day?

Here is a timeline:

  1. Friends reported that Carla Wagner drank as many as 12 shots of tequila in a friend's bedroom shortly before the accident, and she was also smoking marijuana.
  2. The girls piled into Wagner's new car, a silver 2000 Audi A4, and they allegedly went speeding toward Wagner's home, because she was rushing to get money from her parents before they left on an out-of-town trip. Wagner's friends said they were driving about 60 mph in a 30 mph zone.
  3. When Wagner's friends warned her that she might be stopped by police, Wagner reportedly replied, "I don't give a f--- about the cops!"
  4. Wagner then reached for her cellphone. According to her friends, she looked at the phone to dial, took her eyes off to dial, her friends told police, she took her eyes off the road, lost control of the car, and veered off the road.
  5. At just that moment, Helen Marie Witty was inline skating southbound along a nearby bike path. According to a passing driver, the 16 year old saw the car coming but, terror-stricken, had no chance to avoid it.
  6. Wagner's car plowed into Helen Witty and killed her by crushing her against a tree.
  7. Wagner was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and was later released on $500,000 bail.
  8. After Wagner was freed on bond, her lawyers requested permission for her to travel to France for the summer. The motion was denied, and the request itself further harden public opinion against Wagner. If the case had gone to trial, Wagner could have received up to 25 years in prison. Instead she was sentenced 6 years in a juvenile institution, and she could be released after 3 years if Helen Witty's parents agree. Because she is not an American citizen (she is a citizen of Panama and France), Wagner could be deported after she is released from jail.


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