Chandler teacher faces murder charges after drunken deadly crash

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A suspected drunken driver who allegedly ran a red light and caused a fatal crash in Chandler is facing a charge of second-degree murder.

It happened at about 10:30 p.m. Dec. 27 near Arizona Avenue and westbound Loop 202.

According to police, Erica Kristine Flynn was heading south on Arizona Avenue when she apparently blew through a red light and plowed into a Honda Accord that was making a left turn from northbound Arizona Avenue onto Loop 202.

Witnesses told investigators that the Accord had a green turn arrow.

The impact was so severe that the driver of the Accord, 66-year-old Kathleen Mae Searcy, was pinned in her seat. Chandler firefighters pronounced her dead at the scene. Searcy was a retired legal secretary.

According to court paperwork, Flynn, 30, was not wearing her seat belt when she crashed, so her head hit her windshield.

Fire personnel told police they smelled alcohol and possibly marijuana as they treated Flynn and prepared her for transport to Chandler Regional Medical Center.

Blood was drawn at the hospital as part of a medical workup. Preliminary test results put her blood alcohol content at 0.283, which is more than three times the legal threshold at which a driver is considered legally impaired.

Police said electronic data from Flynn's car recorded a speed of 75.8 mph at the time of the crash. In addition, the car's computer showed that Flynn did not apply her brakes before hitting Searcy's Accord.

Flynn was a first-year teacher at Frye Elementary School. She taught third grade. 

According to a biography that has been removed from the school website, Flynn is from Nebraska but earned her master's degree in special and elementary education from Arizona State University.

"Through her family she shared that she will not be returning next semester," Terry Locke, a spokesman for the Chandler Unified School District, told 3TV News.

Flynn was crying and in a wheelchair at her initial court appearance, where a judge noted her previously clean record. She has no prior felonies, misdemeanors or even traffic offenses. The judge also did not find any juvenile record.

Court documents say Flynn is out of jail on supervised release, but she was not at her apartment Friday when 3TV tried to contact her.