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Posted February 19, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Tennessee woman indicted in school teacher's death

By Joe Beck

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Tennessee woman on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in a vehicle in Winchester Circuit Court after an investigation into her role in a traffic accident that killed middle school teacher Amber N. Lucchiani.

Leslie Wylie, 30, of Knoxville, Tenn., also was indicted on misdemeanor reckless driving in the July 12 accident.

Commonwealth's Attorney Alexander Iden said Wylie appeared in court Tuesday afternoon with her attorney, Roger Inger of Winchester. Iden said she waived extradition from Tennessee, meaning that authorities can issue a capias warrant that would allow police to arrest her if she fails to appear in court. Iden said Wylie is out of jail "essentially on her own recognizance." Her next court date is scheduled for April 16.

Winchester police have reported that Wylie's 2004 Ford pickup truck hit Lucchiani's 2008 minivan in the driver's seat area. Police said that in the moments before the accident, Wylie's eastbound truck crossed the median strip on Jubal Early Drive and hit the minivan. Lucchiani, 38, was a teacher at Robert E. Aylor Middle School in Frederick County.

Police said witnesses had seen the pickup truck stop and then accelerate at a high speed as it crossed the median strip. Lucchiani's two children, who were 3 and 5 years old at the time, were also in the minivan and received non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

Police investigators said Wylie told them she received a Botox treatment at a medical office just before the accident. Court records say she told a detective that she fell ill and stopped her pickup truck in the road before the accident. She said she believed she became unconscious and was awakened later to odors and dust from the inflation of the airbag in the pickup truck, according to court records.

Police originally charged Wylie with reckless driving. Iden dropped the reckless driving charge last year, but announced he was convening a special grand jury to investigate the accident more deeply. He cited the special grand jury's power to subpoena witnesses and produce records and documents as his main reason for seeking a special grand jury.

Iden said Tuesday's indictment was the product of a regular grand jury.

"We were able to get information from other sources and present it to the regular grand jury for them to return the indictment," he said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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