Karen Irby avoids trial, pleads guilty - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Karen Irby avoids trial, pleads guilty

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Not a word from Karen Irby as she left the Hinds County Courthouse less than an hour after she entered Friday morning.  Just minutes earlier, she talked to Circuit Judge Tomie Green. 

"I did have two glasses of wine and was driving excessive, over the speed limit, and drove into an oncoming lane and had an accident, and two people died as a result of this," she said softly on the stand.

District Attorney Robert Smith said Irby's blood alcohol content was determined to be .13 to .14 the night of the February 2009 wreck on Old Canton Road that took the lives of Dr. Mark Pogue and Dr. Lisa Dedousis.  They were engaged to be married.  Her speed that night was determined to be in the 70 mile per hour range.

"Culpable negligence is fitting based on the reduced speed limit that was given to us," said Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith.  The District Attorney's office had originally been given information about speeds as high as 110 miles per hour.

Irby did not apologize to the Pogue or Dedousis families on the stand, but her defense attorney, Joe Holloman, said a meeting had been held with them prior to the guilty plea, and all of their questions had been answered.

"She hopes today's proceedings help bring further closure for the families," Holloman said.

Karen's husband, Stuart Irby, was not present in courtroom 3 today.  Karen Irby originally faced an aggravated assault charge for injuries sustained by her husband, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the crash.  But Smith said because of his unavailability for questioning since the accident, and claims that his memory has been affected, the aggravated assault charge was dropped.

Karen Irby faces up to 20 years in prison for each manslaughter count.  She will be sentenced May 11.

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