Woman pleads guilty to DUI maiming

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By John Barnhart

    Elizabeth Doris Coe pleaded guilty Tuesday, in Bedford County Circuit Court, to two counts of DUI maiming. Each charge carries a penalty of between one and five years in prison.
    The charges stemmed from a crash that occurred on May 28, at about 7 p.m. According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Wheelock, Coe had been drinking since before noon that day.
    Coe, who was driving a 2008 Ford Fusion, crossed the double yellow line on Va. 43, near Northside Supply, at the intersection with Kelso Mill Road and collided with a 1986 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle in the opposite lane. Wheelock said that Coe traveled an additional 100 feet before coming back into her lane.
    The motorcycle’s driver, Anthony McClure, of Bedford, lost his left arm in the crash. Wheelock said that it was severed below the elbow by the impact and surgeons had to make an additional amputation above the elbow. He has difficulty walking as his left foot was nearly severed. He is also now blind.
    “He lost so much blood that he had a stroke and lost his vision,” Wheelock said.
    His passenger, Laura Fizer, also suffered permanent injuries. Fizer’s left foot was nearly severed and she has a permanent disability as a result. She also has extensive scarring on her left leg and body.
    Coe’s blood/alcohol level was measured at .16 — twice the legal limit.
    The plea Coe made was a straight guilty plea.
    “There was no agreement as to the charges, there was no agreement as to the disposition,” said Wheelock.
    “If I could go back to that day, I would never have made that choice,” Coe said, speaking before Judge James Updike. Coe said that she wants to become a spokesman warning about the dangers of drinking and driving.
    Coe’s sentencing is scheduled for April 27 at 1:30 p.m., following the preparation of a pre-sentencing report. She remains free on bond.