SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Amanda L. Lyons, who is accused of driving while under the influence with death resulting and three charges of possession of a controlled substance, was arraigned in Fourth District Court on Monday.
Lyons, 27, of 63 Isle of Capri Road, Coventry, was the driver in the Nov. 23 accident on Route 1 at the South County Commons that killed John. P. Balzano, 26, of Providence.
South Kingstown Police Officer John T. D’Agnostino, who was first on the scene of the accident, reports that he could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Lyons’ breath. She was also in possession of three controlled substances: morphine, alprazolam, and buprenorphine.
According to Rhode Island judiciary records, Lyons has several previous charges including shoplifting, conspiracy and receiving stolen goods.
Lyons reportedly told police that she and Balzano left the Mews Tavern prior to the accident and that Balzano took her keys and requested the two stay in the parking lot and “sleep it off.” Balzano then slept in the back seat of the vehicle while Lyons started the car and began driving.
Officer D’Agnostino arrived on the scene of the accident at 12:54 a.m.
“Balzano was lying on his back in the grass approximately forty feet from the vehicle,” D’Angnostino wrote in his report. “He was unresponsive and appeared to be struggling to breathe. Lyons had bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and seemed to be very confused as to what had happened. [She] stated that she was the operator of the vehicle but was not sure if Balzano was in the car.”
Lyons and Balzano were both transported to South County Hospital, where Balzano was pronounced dead.
At the hospital, Lyons reportedly refused to submit to a blood test or sign a medical release form without the presence of a lawyer.
Lyons, who appeared in District Court Monday on crutches and in a neck brace, was released on $10,000 personal recognizance, subjected to drug addiction screening. She was also arraigned in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal for refusal to submit to a chemical test. A preliminary license suspension was issued by the court.
She is due back in Washington County Superior Court on Feb. 11.