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Philbrick to be charged with DUI, death resulting

February 22, 2012

Erica L. Knowles, 23, of South Kingstown was pronounced dead on Wednesday after being involved in a car accident on Torrey Road. Police say alcohol and driver speed may be to blame. Photo by Shaun Kirby

SOUTH KINGSTOWN— Dean Philbrick, 46, of 50 Harcourt Ave., Wakefield, the driver of a motor vehicle which crashed and took the life of a South Kingstown female last week, will be charged by South Kingstown Police Department. Erica Knowles, 23, of 95 Wood Lane, South Kingstown, died last Wednesday when the vehicle operated by Philbrick crashed into a tree on Torrey Road.

“We have a warrant for his arrest,” said SKPD Captain Jeffery Allen. “There will be two charges, driving under the influence, death resulting, and driving to endanger, resulting in death.”

The two charges are felony offenses. Philbrick, who already has legal representation, remains in fair condition at Rhode Island Hospital,
“When [Philbrick] is released from the hospital, he will be arraigned,” said Allen. “We will have some traffic offenses to charge him with afterwards, but we will concentrate on getting the warrant and the accident reconstruction officers’ report, which is not done yet.”
A third passenger in the accident, Rebecca Scott, 29, of 12 Lily Lane, Narragansett, escaped serious injury. All three passengers worked at Turtle Soup Restaurant in Narragansett. Knowles was a journalism student at the University of Rhode Island, which sent out its condolences to Knowles’ family last week.

“The University community is deeply saddened by the death of junior student Erica Knowles,” read a statement released by Thomas R. Dougan, Vice-President of Student Affairs at URI. “Ms. Knowles was well known in our journalism community and she was a talented young poet. She was a woman who met every challenge and was determined to finish her degree even in the face of some difficult circumstances.”

“We will miss her greatly, and we offer our thoughts and prayers to her family, friends, professors and classmates,” it continued.
A memorial of flowers and memorabilia has been set up alongside Torrey Road in Knowles’ memory.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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