Court: Vehicular homicide conviction not affected by victim’s do-not-resuscitate order

A drunk driver whose crash killed a 93-year-old woman on her way home from church in Saint Paul has failed in his claim that he didn’t kill her, her do-not-resuscitate order did.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today rejected Eddie Cortez Smith’s assertion that Edith Schouveller’s DNR relieved him of any criminal culpability in her death. He broadsided her car at a Saint Paul intersection, a crash that left her with a broken neck, brain injuries, and lacerations.

Over 13 days in the hospital, her condition worsened and she developed pneumonia after being transferred to a nursing home. But she had a living will and had told hospital staff she did not want to be intubated or resuscitated and she died three weeks after the 2010 crash at Milton Street S. and Watson Avenue W. in St. Paul.

In Minnesota, a person cannot be convicted of criminal vehicular homicide, of which Smith was convicted, if something else not foreseeable by the wrongdoer could’ve “intervened” to cause a death.

But the Court of Appeals said Schouveller’s do-not-resuscitate wishes do not fall into this definition.

“The application of a do-not-resuscitate order after Smith drove drunk and severely injured a person is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of Smith’s actions,” Judge Kevin Ross wrote.

  • Joe

    I would have to say this is the ultimate “In Denial” and “Averting responsibilities” I have ever heard of. An example of true justice in my opinion.