A Juneau woman accused of crashing her Suburban into a stone wall, seriously injuring two of her four children, pleaded not guilty today in Juneau Superior Court to felony assault charges.
Annabelle Nashoanak, 25, is accused of drunken driving, causing a Dec. 22 crash on Glacier Highway.
She is charged with two counts of felony assault with a dangerous instrument and one count of a lesser felony assault charge, as well as drunken driving and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors.
Juneau court records show Nashoanak has no prior felony or drunken-driving convictions.
Nashoanak originally faced less serious felony assault charges. But District Attorney Rick Svobodny said because the children were seriously injured and Nashoanak was allegedly drunk, the vehicle is considered a weapon and the action warrants a more severe charge.
"When people are driving and they are drinking they have to realize the potential danger," he said. "And here we see the potential become the actual."
Svobodny stated the facts of the case and probable cause to indict Nashoanak in an affidavit:
Nashoanak, her husband Travis and their four children were in the family's Chevy Suburban when Nashoanak, allegedly driving at a high rate of speed, lost control of her vehicle and it slammed into a rock wall on the corner of Highland Drive and Glacier Avenue.
Police later determined Nashoanak's blood-alcohol content to be 0.235, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08.
All of the Nashoanak children were taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital. Two were released with minor injuries while Lane, 8, and Ruby, 6, were medevaced to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Ruby Nashoanak was treated for facial fractures and released Dec. 27 while Lane suffered a colon injury and was released Jan. 1, said a Harborview spokeswoman.
Louis Menendez, Nashoanak's attorney, declined comment.
Cindy Cashen, spokeswoman for the Juneau chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was in court for today's arraignment. She said MADD will follow the case to make sure "the proper sentence is being handed down and justice is served."
Nashoanak is still incarcerated and being held on a $5,000 bond. A jury trial is scheduled for April 8.
If convicted, Nashoanak could get a maximum of 20 years in prison for each assault with a dangerous instrument charge, with a presumptive minimum sentence of seven years for each because she has no prior convictions. The lesser felony charge carries a maximum of five years in prison while the drunken driving and reckless endangerment charges carry maximum penalties of one year in prison each.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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