By Joe Beck
WINCHESTER -- A Tennessee woman received three years probation Tuesday in Winchester Circuit Court for her role in a two-vehicle accident that killed a sixth-grade teacher.
Winchester Commonwealth's Attorney Alexander Iden said a long-term psychological condition that made the defendant, Leslie Wylie, fearful of needles caused her to faint while behind the wheel of her pickup truck and strike a minivan driven by Amber Lucchiani in the July 2012 crash on Jubal Early Drive.
Iden said in an interview hours after the hearing that Wylie fainted while thinking about needles used to pierce her skin during a Botox treatment she underwent minutes before at the doctor's office.
Wylie, 34, of Knoxville, Tenn., pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter under a plea agreement in which Iden agreed to drop a charge of reckless driving. The plea agreement includes a suspended prison sentence of three years. As a condition of her probation, Circuit Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. also ordered Wylie to take someone with her on future visits to doctors' offices.
Iden said medical records obtained during the investigation revealed that Wylie had a history of fainting spells involving use of needles by doctors going back to at least 2002 - the same condition that overcame her on the day of the fatal accident.
"What she told police is that just after she left the doctor's office, she began to think about the procedure she had just been through, which is cosmetic Botox," Iden said.
Iden said the procedure involved needles injected into crow's feet on Wylie's face.
"She got to thinking about needles being in her face, and as she started to think about it, she started to blackout," Iden said.
Wylie's eastbound 2004 Ford pickup crossed the grassy median strip on Jubal Early Drive and hit a 2008 Nissan minivan driven by Lucchiani, which was headed west. Lucchiani, 38, was a teacher at Robert E. Aylor Middle School in Stephens City. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Iden said Wylie could have prevented the accident had she told the doctor of her history of fainting spells over needles or taken someone along to drive her back from the doctor's office.
Iden said the doctor who performed the Botox procedure on Wylie told him he would not have done so had she spoken about her adverse reaction to needles.
Iden called the circumstances of the case "very unusual" for a case of involuntary manslaughter.
"It's not like somebody stabbed somebody," Iden said. "It's much more complicated than that."
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org