Woman to get accident expert paid for by public

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — A judge has set aside $2,000 in public money for a Jackson woman to hire an expert in her fight against a drunken driving charge.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that 46-year-old Jeanette Sterling is charged with aggravated DUI from a 2009 accident in south Jackson that seriously injured a motorcyclist. Her trial last month ended with a hung jury. A retrial is set for Sept. 12.

Circuit Judge Jeff Weill said the money can be spent on a defense expert in accident reconstruction. Sterling is being represented by a public defender.

Police said Timothy Jackson was injured when his motorcycle collided with Sterlington’s car as she was attempting to turn left. A police report concluded that Sterling failed to yield.

Sterling’s attorneys have challenged whether a blood sample used to measure her alcohol level was Sterling’s, saying it cannot be authenticated through a chain of custody. She had no prior traffic offenses, but police said Jackson had two previous DUIs, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

The defense will hire James Hannah, a retired Jackson police officer who is an accident investigator and reconstructionist. Assistant Public Defender June Hardwick said Sterling cannot afford to hire an expert witness.

If convicted, Sterling faces up to 20 years in prison.