A Hellertown woman is facing DUI and other charges as the result of two hit-and-run accidents borough police say she allegedly caused while high on prescription drugs.
According to a police department news release and a criminal complaint filed in district court, Melissa Ann Powell, 41, of the 700 block of Front Street, was allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance when she struck two occupied vehicles in the 1400 block of Main Street on Friday, shortly before 6 p.m.
Powell then allegedly fled the crash scenes in her vehicle–a blue Dodge Caravan–with 911 callers who police called “good Samaritans” pursuing her while they remained on the phone with emergency dispatchers.
Police said an officer eventually caught up with Powell in the city of Bethlehem, where she was stopped and arrested.
In the criminal complaint filed in the case by Cpl. John Donato of the Hellertown Police Department on Monday, he wrote that Powell’s vehicle was “consistent with the description of the crashes described by the (911) callers.”
Donato also said one of the witnesses provided him with “a photograph…of Powell’s vehicle on the wrong side of Main Street just after the second crash.”
Before and during the crashes, witnesses said they observed Powell’s “vehicle traveling south on Main Street and crossing the center line two times and each time striking an oncoming vehicle, and then backing up and fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed,” the criminal complaint says.
In it, Donato said that in Powell’s vehicle he allegedly found “inhalants,” that Powell allegedly failed field sobriety tests, that she allegedly admitted to taking the prescription drugs Lamictal and Buspar, and that she “submitted a written statement admitting to one of the crashes and fleeing the scene.”
Buspar (also known as buspirone) is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety, while Lamictal (also known as lamotrigine) is a prescription drug used to treat conditions such as epilepsy and bipolar disorder, according to numerous online medical resources.
Although the official lab results from a blood sample taken from her haven’t yet been received, Donato concluded in his criminal complaint that “Powell’s ability to safely operate a vehicle was impaired by drugs.”
According to police and court records, she is charged with DUI-controlled substance, causing an accident that involves damage to an occupied vehicle (2 counts), reckless driving, careless driving, driving with a suspended license, driving with an expired license and various other traffic violations.
Police said in their news release that following her arrest Friday, Powell was committed to Northampton County Prison because she is on probation.
According to court records, however, she is currently free on $25,000 unsecured bail.
Court records also show that a preliminary hearing in Powell’s case is scheduled to be held Dec. 10 at 3:15 p.m. before District Judge Alan Mege at Northampton County District Court 03-2-04 in Lower Saucon Township.