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Woman with DUI history faces six felony charges in hit-and-run fatality

Published: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 9:40 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — DECATUR — A 34-year-old woman who allegedly killed a motorcyclist and fled the scene while driving drunk early Saturday is facing up to 14 years in prison after prosecutors charged her with six felony counts.

Sharon D. Wilder, who has two prior drunken driving convictions for incidents in which she was extremely impaired, was charged Thursday with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in a person’s death, aggravated driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than 0.08 percent resulting in a death, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving while her license is revoked, with a prior conviction for that offense.

Wilder, who is being held in the jail on $1 million bond, is due in Macon County Circuit Court this morning for her arraignment.

Police said Wilder was driving a dark-colored 1997 Lincoln Town Car north on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at 4:50 a.m. Saturday when she drove through a red light and plowed into a red Honda scooter driven by a 60-year-old man.

A witness told police Saturday that the Lincoln “disobeyed the red light” and “the east/west traffic had the green light,” according to an affidavit by Decatur patrol officer Larry Brooks.

Wilder “fled the scene northbound on Martin Luther King after the accident and made no attempt to give aid or information,” Brooks wrote in his statement.

The victim, Mark E. Howard, was taken to Decatur Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 40 minutes later. He suffered massive injuries to his head and internal organs.

Howard was heading for Mueller Co., where he had been employed as a machinist for 36 years. An Air Force veteran and member of gt Church, Howard was married with two children.

Shortly after the accident, police located the Lincoln on Condit Street, just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, about a half-mile north of the crash scene. Wilder was found at her home one block away, in the 700 block of East Condit.

Wilder initially told police “she would not say anything about the accident,” Brooks wrote. She later admitted she was in the car but said she had not been driving.

“Wilder advised that she was not going to say who was driving because she did not want to get anyone into trouble,” the officer wrote. “I observed that as I spoke to Wilder that she had a very slurred speech, glassy eyes and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her.”

After she was transported to the jail about 7 a.m., Wilder “broke down” and admitted she had been driving, but not much more.

“She advised that she did not hit anyone but that she remembered driving into the curb,” the affidavit states. “Wilder was not sure what color the traffic light was for her or even what road she was on during the accident.”

Wilder told the officer she had consumed just one drink that night, a Long Island mixed drink.

A breath test, given almost three hours after the accident, measured her blood-alcohol level at 0.219 percent, more than 2 1/2 times over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Wilder has an extensive record of drunken driving and driving while revoked offenses, according to court documents and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Her driver’s license was revoked in April 2007, after she drove in Decatur on Jan. 23, 2007, with a blood-alcohol level of 0.230 percent, almost three times the legal limit.

She was arrested two months after the revocation when she crashed into a light pole June 4. After refusing a breath test, a blood sample was extracted at the hospital where she was treated for injuries. It revealed her blood-alcohol level at 0.3 percent.

On June 7, 2012, she was arrested for driving while revoked. She was convicted on Aug. 10 and sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Wilder was sentenced to a total of nine days in jail for her two 2007 drunken driving convictions, including five days for violating probation in the June 4 case.

In her most recent case, Wilder also was charged with felony counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated driving with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08. The aggravating factor in both charges was the prior DUI convictions.

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