March 21, 2012
Hurricane woman pleads guilty to DUI causing death

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- A Hurricane woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to DUI causing death in Putnam County Circuit Court.

Susanne Hamon Thomas, 51, was recently indicted on the felony DUI charge after a wreck in June last year on W.Va. 34 near Buff Creek left motorcyclist Rodney Thomas dead at the scene. The two are not related.

"I take full responsibility for my actions, your honor. I realize what I've done and I'm so sorry," Thomas told Circuit Judge James Holliday on Wednesday.

She faces two to 10 years in prison, according to the plea, and will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. May 25.

According to a criminal complaint, Susanne Thomas' SUV traveled left of the center line and struck Rodney Thomas' motorcycle head on. Thomas denied drinking alcohol before the crash, the complaint states, but she registered a 0.118 on an Intoximeter test after her arrest. The legal blood alcohol limit in the state is 0.08.

After the wreck, Thomas' husband, Edwin, posted her bond and she was released from jail.

In July 2011, Susanne Thomas was arrested again after a criminal complaint said her Chrysler 300 crossed the centerline on W.Va. 34 and struck a GMC Yukon SUV. 

The two people in the Yukon were taken to the hospital after the collision, according to the complaint. The driver had to be freed from the wreckage by the Hurricane Fire Department.

According to the complaint, police saw "three pill bottles lying on the front passenger floor [of Thomas' car] in plain view." All of the prescriptions belonged to Thomas, the complaint states.

One of the bottles was labeled as clonazepam, which is used to relieve seizures and treat panic attacks. According to the complaint filed by Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy C.D. Weaver, the bottle had been filled earlier that day with 30 pills, but was empty when he found it.

In the indictment, Thomas also was charged with two counts of driving under the influence of controlled substances causing bodily injury. Her plea Wednesday drops those misdemeanor charges.

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