A Freeland woman accused of causing a Valentine’s Day accident that killed a man appeared in court Monday without an attorney.
Michelle Nichols, 47, was in a wheelchair and was wearing a leg cast at her arraignment hearing in Island County Superior Court, which was ultimately continued until Sept. 14. She asked for time to find a lawyer to represent her.
Judge Alan Hancock reminded Nichols of the conditions of her release, which include no drinking nor driving without a proper license or insurance.
Nichols is facing one count of vehicular homicide in connection with the Feb. 14, 2014 crash on South Whidbey.
Prosecutors charged her on Aug. 7 under the “DUI prong” of the charge, which is the most serious and carries the longest potential sentence. If convicted, she could face from 78 to 102 months in prison under the standard sentencing range.
Nichols was driving a 1988 Ford van southbound on Highway 525, drove off the road, hit a guardrail and then re-entered the roadway near Coles Road. Her van then crossed the centerline and collided head-on with an oncoming 1993 Honda Accord driven by 61-year-old Timothy Keil, according to the report by a detective with the Washington State Patrol.
Keil died at the scene.
Nichols was trapped in her van and suffered a fracture to her left leg.
A blood toxicology report showed that Nichols had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent three hours and 51 minutes after the crash, which occurred at 8:39 p.m., according to court documents.