Crash victim: "I'm just a lucky person that I didn't get killed."

Updated: 08/19/2014 5:57 PM
Created: 08/19/2014 8:59 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

She was just trying to get home from Bingo when the sheriff says she was t-boned by a woman who was not allowed to drive.

The sheriff's office says Lisa Ann Penn-Thomas was not allowed to drive because of a previous DWI conviction. Even before her license was revoked in 2011, she was ordered to have a breathalyzer device in her car. Now she's accused of driving under the influence of drugs after she crashed into another car in Manchester Monday night.

“I seen the car coming fast and I tried to avoid it but I couldn't.” Helen Hess was driving home when she was hit by woman accused of being high on drugs.

Berkeley Brean: “According to the charges from the sheriff's office, Lisa Ann Penn-Thomas was supposed to have one of those breathalyzer devices in her car. But if she could just get into a different car and drive what good are they?”

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero: “People that are going to scofflaw the statutes and not abide by whether they should be driving or using an interlock device are still going to be a danger to our highways."

We asked Povero how you stop people willing to break the law. Povero said, “The best way is the way we seem to do best in Ontario County which is some strict enforcement and prosecution that is followed up by with the District Attorney.”

In 2013, Ontario County led the state in DWI convictions.

Berkeley Brean: “When you hear that the person who hit you has a previous conviction for driving under the influence, how does that make you feel?”
Helen Hess: “Very upset with someone who drives under the influence. I'm just a lucky person that I didn't get killed.”

One of the charges against Lisa Ann Penn-Thomas is driving in a car without an interlock device. According to the federal Transportation Safety Administration, the devices reduce repeat offenses by 50 to 90-percent. They don't prevent people from getting into a car without one.

Penn Thomas is due back in court Wednesday.

Lisa Penn Thomas
Helen Hess

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