A Sun City resident visiting her sister reportedly died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries sustained in a wrong-way crash in the East Valley, according to medical examiner and toxicology reports.
In addition, the Maricopa County Medical Examiner reports released to the Daily News-Sun on Monday show the wrong-way driver, Karen Ankiewicz, was also found to be extremely intoxicated.
On the night of May 14, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said three vehicles were involved in a collision. Ms. Ankiewicz was driving north in the southbound lanes of State Route 347 when her vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle.
Ms. Ankiewicz and the other driver, Julissa Torres of Maricopa, died at the scene. A third vehicle struck Ms. Torres’ vehicle after the initial collision. Her children and fiancé were also injured but have been on the road to recovery. The people in the third vehicle sustained non-life threatening injuries.
DPS was investigating whether impairment was a factor.
According to the toxicology report, Ms. Ankiewicz had ethanol concentrations of .24 g percent and .32 g percent, respectively, in her vitreous fluid and aortic blood.
“According to Dr. (Kevin) Horn, the 0.32 percent is a blood alcohol content,” Fields Moseley, county communications director, stated in an email asking about the concentration terminology.
He added in most situations, a 0.32 percent blood alcohol would be consistent with an extreme state of intoxication. It is also four times the legal limit.
“Since she was operating a vehicle, that amount was likely not lethal, however a few grams higher would likely be lethal for most people,” Mr. Fields continued. “Dr. Horn does not believe this was a contaminant from other vehicle fluids.”
According to the examiner’s documents, Ms. Ankiewicz knew the route as she was reportedly visiting her sister who lives in the area of the crash. She supposedly did not drink alcoholic beverages that day.
“I don’t know the particulars of the criminal case but anyone with 0.32 percent blood alcohol content was extremely intoxicated as the doctor noted,” Mr. Fields stated in response to whether Ms. Ankiewicz consumed alcohol that day.
Ms. Ankiewicz’s husband told authorities she had no significant prior medical history, specifically of seizures or syncope (temporary loss of consciousness due to drop in blood pressure), the report states.
She was not taking any medications nor had she been in any serious vehicle accidents.
Her husband could not say how or why she traveled on the wrong side.
The examiner report revealed Ms. Ankiewicz’s body had the presence of arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. A major coronary artery was found to be narrowing, which can lead to a loss of oxygen and a heart attack.
A GoFundMe account for Ms. Torres’ fiancé and children has raised more than $16,000.
This story appears in the Daily News-Sun Aug. 7 edition.
Read more at yourvalley.net.