Charges against woman who backed vehicle over teens reduced

Photo: Carol Boviall

A Norfork woman who backed her vehicle over a teenage brother and sister waiting on a school bus in early November 2018 has entered a guilty plea to reduced charges stemming from the accident. She was sentenced to four years probation in Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.

Gray Dellinger of Melbourne, the attorney for 58-year-old Carol Boviall, filed a motion in mid-November last year asking the court not to admit the results of a blood test. Dellinger said Boviall had not given consent, and no search warrant had been obtained for drawing the blood.

A blood sample was taken from Boviall immediately after the accident and sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory. The lab reported the blood tested positive for methamphetamine.

Dellinger characterized the warrantless blood draw as being a violation of Boviall’s constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

In a decision in April last year, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the negligent homicide conviction of an Independence County man based on a warrantless blood draw and ordered a new trial in which the blood evidence could not be admitted.

Arkansas’ implied consent law says anyone operating a vehicle in the state is deemed to have consented to several forms of DWI testing. A warrant is required, however, to obtain a blood sample.

Boviall’s case records do contain an Arkansas Statement of Rights form, but that document was declared unconstitutional by both the Arkansas and U.S. Supreme Courts several months before being used by local investigators looking into the incident.

The state stipulated the wrong form had been used by police, rendering the results of the blood test most likely inadmissible.

Without having proof that Boviall had methamphetamine in her system on the day of the accident, the state did not have the aggravating circumstance needed to prove first-degree battery, so the charge was reduced to battery in the second degree.

On the day of the accident, Boviall was reported to have been at her son’s home in Norfork when some sort of argument allegedly broke out. The defendant was reported to have left her son’s residence in “a hurried manner,” backing her SUV onto Main Street and traveling almost 53 feet before running into the two teens standing at their normal bus stop.

A third child is reported to have run up to Boviall’s vehicle and screamed at her to pull up because the brother and sister were pinned under the SUV. The third child said Boviall did not seem totally aware she had hit the teens.

The teens were taken to Baxter Regional Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of their injuries.

The mother of the two students said her then 15-year-old-son suffered a broken collarbone, nose and septum – all of which had to be surgically repaired. The then 13-year old daughter suffered a shoulder injury and a muscle tear. Both of the teens were referred to the neurology unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. The daughter was reported to have suffered seizures after the incident.

According to an incident report filed by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office in mid-September last year, Boviall is alleged to have violated a no contact order prohibiting her from interacting with the two teens and their family.

It was reported Boviall and a male companion had been near the family’s residence loudly revving the engine of the pickup truck they were in. The male was also reported to have yelled profanities at the mother of the victims.

The mother said she reminded the man driving the truck and Boviall about the no-contact order.

Boviall was alleged to have replied with her incorrect interpretation of the law in a loud voice. She was alleged to have said the no-contact order had been issued against her, but there was no such order against the male in the truck with her. She was reported to have said the man could do “whatever he pleased.”

Boviall seemed to overlook the fact she was in the same truck with the man and sitting the same distance from the house and was communicating with the mother of the victim – all of which did violate the order.

After the demonstration of engine revving and verbal exchange with the mother of the victims, Boviall and the male were reported to have driven off.

Earlier, Boviall also ran afoul of the law when she was booked into the Baxter County Detention Center on charges of driving while her license was suspended for DWI and having no proof of liability insurance.

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