WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Woonsocket woman was charged with driving drunk for at least the third time following a deadly crash in Warwick last month.
Audriana Hill, 31, was arrested Thursday on several charges including DUI of liquor, .15 BAC or greater (third or subsequent offense), according to Warwick police.
Hill and another driver, identified as Caleb Winfrey, 25, were involved in a crash on Route 2 at West Natick Road on the evening of Dec. 7.
Both were taken to the hospital with injuries, and Winfrey eventually died on Dec. 23, police said Friday.
Hill was taken into custody as a result of an investigation by Warwick police. She was arraigned in court Thursday on the DUI charge, along with driving with a suspended/revoked/canceled license (third or subsequent offense), DUI of liquor or drugs resulting in death, driving to endanger resulting in death, and reckless driving.
Police said she was released on $50,000 surety bond.
Hill’s record shows 16 previous arrests, and in 2019 she was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license. That time, she served 45 days in jail and later that year, served 45 more days and months of home confinement along with probation and other fines for another suspended license charge.
She was out on bail stemming from a November 2021 arrest for another suspended license charge.
“The process, the system didn’t get it right on this one,” said 12 News law enforcement analyst and former Rhode Island State Police Col. Steve O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said it’s new legislation passed in recent years that changed the way courts look at bail, and this case shows the flaws in that system.
Instead of being incarcerated for multiple suspended license offenses, defendants like Hill, without additional charges, pay a fine. It was passed in an effort to not clog up the courts and prison with non-violent offenders.
“There’s gotta be an end game somewhere where habitual offenders get incarcerated for it. I don’t think the intent of the law that changed in 2020 was to allow people to get away with all of this,” O’Donnell said. “When legislation changes, especially the way this changed, the intent is good but these unintended consequences, the death of a person, nobody, when they’re thinking of legislative change, thinks of that.”