A woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to causing a drunken driving crash that killed a couple in Gaithersburg earlier this year.
Rebecca Thuc Hoang Vo, 39, of Nashville, Tenn., pleaded guilty to two counts of gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle in connection with a crash that killed Pran and Pamela Sharma, the State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Vo was driving a 2017 BMW i3 east on Darnestown Road around 8:30 p.m. on March 27 when she came to the intersection of Blackberry Drive, according to police.
Pran Sharma was driving west on Darnestown Road in a 2018 Toyota RAV4 and was trying to turn left at Blackberry Drive. His wife, Pamela, was in the front passenger seat.
Vo’s BMW hit the Toyota in the intersection, causing the Toyota to rotate, hit the curb, roll onto its side and come back to rest right side up, according to police.
Andrew Alpert, an attorney who represents Vo, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Vo is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 4.
An officer who went to the scene said Vo told him that she was driving the BMW, and that she was talking on the phone to the owner of the vehicle. The officer said he could smell alcohol from her breath, her speech was slurred and her eyes were bloodshot, according to police.
Vo refused medical attention, according to a firefighter at the scene.
When Vo was asked how much alcohol she had consumed, she initially said she didn’t know, then said she had two half-size glasses of wine over a three-hour period at a nearby business, according to police.
The officer at the scene said that Vo took a field sobriety test and was swaying back and forth. Later, when Vo was asked to walk, she couldn’t keep her balance and couldn’t follow instructions, according to police.
After police arrested Vo, she took a breath test later that night and registered a breath alcohol concentration of 0.13, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Maryland’s legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08.
A police investigation found extensive damage to the front of the BMW, as well as the front and side of the Toyota.
In a statement to police, Vo said she was driving south while approaching the intersection, and said, “The other vehicle would have had to yield, and it did not.”
“The other car was coming from the right of my vehicle. I honestly didn’t see the other car before it happened. I felt a bit blindsided,” she said in the statement. “As far as I know it wasn’t at a proper place you can turn. It wasn’t at an actual junction. That’s as much as I remember. I don’t remember the actual collision.”
According to an event recorder from the BMW, Vo was traveling at 65 miles per hour and accelerated to 75 miles per hour just before the crash — two and a half times the speed limit, according to police.
Had Vo been traveling the speed limit, “no action was required by her to avoid this collision,” according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org