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|Homicidal Verdict Returned by Coroner's Jury in Galesburg Woman's Death
|The death of a Galesburg woman earlier this year after a wayward vehicle slammed into the driver's side her car was a homicide.
A Knox County coroner's jury returned that verdict Tuesday night during an inquest after the jurors heard police testimony related to the May 9th death of 75-year old Madge Gossage. Gossage was killed as she sat in her vehicle in her driveway at 246 Allens Avenue and was struck by another vehicle driven by 34-year old Lori Mahnesmith of Galesburg.
Galesburg police investigator Brad Cirimotich testified that Mahnesmith was driving on Allens Avenue when her car went off the road, jumped a curb, and slammed into Gossage's vehicle. The officer said Gossage was apparently trying to back out of her driveway when the collision took place. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and Coroner Mark Thomas said she died from blunt force injuries to the chest.
Cirimotich told the jury he wasn't sure how fast Mahnesmith was driving, but he called it a high speed impact crash. The investigator said Mahnesmith's vehicle was unoccupied when police arrived on scene, and she was located later at her residence. He said Mahnesmith's speech was slurred and deliberate when police questioned her, and blood tests showed she was under the influence of multiple drugs---including marijuana, cocaine and painkillers.
Cirimotich said Mahnesmith admitted she was behind the wheel of the vehicle, but that she "blanked out" and didn't remember the crash. Mahnesmith was arrested for Aggravated D-U-I Causing Injury or Death and other related traffic counts. Cirimotich said it was his opinion that drugs and alcohol significantly contributed to the incident.
The jury reached the homicidal verdict after about 15 minutes of deliberations.
Mahnesmith pleaded guilty last month in Knox County Circuit Court to Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. State's Attorney John Pepmeyer has said he will recommend 9 years in prison for Mahnesmith.
|09 23 08 by Newsroom
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