It has been almost four years since 24-year-old Maryah Sanchez was tragically killed in a fiery crash on Highway 77. On Tuesday, a judge ruled the driver of that vehicle will begin her trial in October.
On Feb. 9, 2014, Paige Morgan Powell was driving back to Guthrie, along with Sanchez, from Stillwater in her 2013 Dodge Charger on Highway 77 in the early morning hours when she lost control of the vehicle, which departed the roadway, struck a tree and caught fire. Powell was able to escape the smoke and flames, but Sanchez, the passenger, was unable to do so and died at the scene.
Powell, now 25, was charged with manslaughter in the first degree and pleaded not guilty of driving under the influence, or in the alternative driving while impaired. If found guilty, the crime is punishable by imprisonment for not less than four years. Related article: Guthrie woman charged with manslaughter following 2014 deadly car crash
In June 2016, a judge found probable cause that a crime was committed and that the case would go to trial. Related article: Judge finds probable cause for trial in the death of a Guthrie woman
In the affidavit, a state trooper revealed the results of Powell’s blood alcohol content was .038 percent. However, the blood draw was not conducted until over three hours from when the trooper arrived on the scene.
A forensic toxicologist said Powell’s blood-alcohol level would have been 0.08 or 0.09 at the time of the crash.
On Tuesday inside the Payne County Courthouse, Powell’s attorney, Scott Adams, attempted to have a forensic toxicologist testimony dismissed from the upcoming trial due to flaws in the science, but the judge overruled the argument.
“We just want to get the case to trial,” Adams said. “It’s a tragic deal and everyone hates it.”
A final pretrial is set for August 17 and a jury trial has been scheduled for October 22 at 9 a.m.