On the night of July 5, 2010, Elizabeth Long killed 22-year-old Mary Warren. It wasn’t premeditated, and Long didn’t use a gun or a knife, but she did use a weapon — her car. Long was driving drunk. So drunk, in fact, that she drove her car the wrong way down Interstate 25 for a distance of five miles, colliding with several vehicles before hitting the car Mary was riding in, killing her almost instantly. Long was arrested charges of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault, careless driving, driving on the wrong side of a divided highway, failure to remain at the scene, and driving under the influence (DUI).
Despite numerous witnesses who saw Long driving the wrong way and called 911, her own admission that she was drinking wine at a party before she got into her car, and the fact that Mary Warren is dead, Elizabeth Long is currently free on just $10,000 bond. This is the standard bond amount in Adams County, which has one of the highest DUI fatality rates in the state of Colorado. In fact, the county saw 20 DUI arrests over the 2010 Fourth of July weekend alone.
The Adams County District Attorney now has until July 20 to formally charge Long for her role in the accidents she caused, and in Mary Warren’s death. On that day, Long is scheduled to appear before a judge where she will hear the formal charges being made against her, and will have the opportunity to enter a plea.
Mary Warren no longer has any opportunities, but she is not just another drunk driving victim. Mary graduated this past May from Colorado State University. She double majored in political science, and journalism with a focus in public relations. She was holding down two jobs over the summer to save money. Her plan was to join the Peace Corps in August, and spend two years of her life helping the people of Kazakhstan.
Thousands of people like Mary die every year in alcohol-related vehicle accidents. Until drivers stop getting behind the wheel while drunk, the best the victims’ families can hope for is legal justice.