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Drunken substance abuse counselor kills pedestrian

City News Service | 11/28/2012, 5 p.m.

A substance abuse counselor was charged with murder and other counts for allegedly driving drunk, running into a pedestrian and driving two miles with him embedded in her car's windshield before other motorists stopped her.

Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 51, of Torrance, was arraigned Tuesday in Torrance Superior Court on one count each of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, driving with a .08 percent or higher blood-alcohol content causing injury and leaving the scene of an accident, according to the district attorney's office.

Phillip Moreno, 31, of Torrance, was struck on Torrance Boulevard near Madrid Avenue at 11:25 p.m. Saturday, Torrance police said.

Wilkins allegedly kept driving for about two miles with the man atop the car, until witnesses persuaded her to stop near Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street, according to police.

Paramedics rushed Moreno to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Wilkins was arrested within about a half-hour of the crash.

Prosecutors are expected to ask that her bail be set at $2.25 million.

Wilkins, who has two prior burglary convictions from 1989 and 1994 and is a third-striker, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the charges, according to the district attorney's office.