Drunk Drug Counselor Drags Man to Death

By Adam K. Raymond 11/27/12

A long-sober Californian counselor's deadly DUI is a tragic example of the lingering specter of relapse.

A memorial for the victim of the accident
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Sober for 11 years, a certified drug counselor, employed at a Californian treatment center... Sherri Wilkins was doing everything right in her ongoing fight against addiction. Outwardly at least. Inside things must not have been going so well: on Saturday night the 51-year-old hit a pedestrian with her car in LA and drove two miles with the man embedded in her windshield. Other drivers eventually managed to persuade Wilkins to stop. Thirty-one year old Phillip Moreno was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Wilkins was carted off to jail with a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit. "Mind-boggling" is how police Sgt. Robert Watt describes the incident. "I've never seen this," he tells the LA Times. "It shows you how impaired she must have been." Wilkins later said she kept driving after hitting Moreno only because she panicked. Though this wasn't her first run in with the law, Wilkins had put drugs and crime behind her in recent years. "If I were to rank someone for risk of relapse, she would be pretty low on the list," says David Lisonbee, her boss at Twin Tower Treatment.

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Adam K. Raymond covers politics and sports for New York Magazine. Visit Adam's website and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.