Philly nun charged with DUI after crashing into NJ building
On Wednesday, Kimberly Miller, a Philadelphia nun, was found guilty and was convicted of DUI charges after Washington Township Municipal Court Judge, Martin Whitcraft, ruled against her argument that she doesn’t remember crashing her motor vehicle into a New Jersey building.
Miller was a teacher at Little Flower Catholic School in Philadelphia and was taken into custody last year after she drove her motor vehicle into an auto repair shop. The incident happened on the 7th of November when she damaged the glass storefront of a Turnersville auto repair business. She said that she consumed a glass of wine and an Ambien and went to bed, but woke up in police custody.
When she was taken into custody, her BAC level was 1.60%, double the limit allowed for driving in the state. Her driving license was suspended for 3 months and she was ordered to pay the amount of $650 plus fees in fine for the offense she committed in 2015.
The defense lawyer she had hired, Jeffrey Lindy, said that Miller didn’t know Ambien will affect. According to her, the accident happened due to the side effects of taking the sleeping pill Ambien. She was not aware that the prescription medication combined with alcohol can impair her thinking ability.
Lindy said that the judge’s comments about Miller’s credibility caused more pain than his decision. The lawyer also noted in court that the judge had “just called my client a liar,” when asked if he had anything to say.
The lawyer issued a statement in which it was written, “I understand the Judge’s ruling that New Jersey doesn’t recognize the defense of pathological intoxication in DWI matters. If we appeal, perhaps this is the case where we can make some new law on that issue. But his ruling that he has credibility concerns about Sister Kim is really remarkable”.
Miller said at that hearing that she had taken Ambien sleeping pill with a glass of wine. She also said that she had taken 2 small glasses of wine in the evening prior to the accident. A half-empty bottle of wine was found by the police in the passenger compartment of the vehicle she was driving. Police told that she denied that she consumed alcohol when asked at the accident spot. Miller said, “I woke up, and I was in my habit and handcuffs”. She told the judge that she is a patient of sleepwalking and has a dissociative disorder.
The judge noted that her prescription was about 1 year old and Miller had accepted that she was not taking the pill for about 8 months prior to the incident. She told the judge that she took Ambien to cope with the chronic arthritis pain.
Miller stood quiet during the 45 minutes that she spent in court before the judge who was reviewing the evidence; she just said one word “No” when she was asked if she wanted to ask any questions from the judge.
4 other motor vehicle charges linked to the accident were dismissed by the prosecutor.
She didn’t comment on the case after leaving the courtroom.
After the incident, Miller was placed on leave from Little Flower. She ran a famous writing program at Little Flower and was present at a meeting at Haverford to make plans for an event linked to the program on the evening before she was taken into custody for her wrongdoing.
A statement was released by Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which declared that Miller will remain suspended pending further review by Office of Catholic Education and the nuns in Miller’s religious congregation.
Gavin added, “No change has yet been made to her status. She remains on administrative leave from her teaching duties. This information has been shared with the Little Flower community. When a determination is made regarding whether or not she can resume her duties at school, that information will also be shared with school families”.
There is an online petition for her return on the job.