No charges for woman who killed 2 while driving after taking Ambien

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The closure Greg Phillips so desperately wanted now seems to be permanently out of reach.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office notified him on Wednesday that charges were being dropped against Marie Blandford, the woman who killed his father.

"It's just a little bit of additional grief, I think," Phillips said.

Police said Blandford had Ambien in her system the morning she blew through a red light and T-boned a truck, killing William Phillips.

Minutes earlier, officers said she slammed into Claire Kirby, who was riding her bike. Blandford never stopped.

According to Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb, a court-appointed medical expert determined that Blandford, 74, has dementia and Alzheimer's disease. That means she is incompetent to stand trial.

"Justice, to me, would be that she had some sort of penalty," Phillips said. "She's had none. She's never even been booked. I would like to have seen some sort of sentencing, but, according to our legal system, they're unable to do it."

Blandford initially was charged with two counts of manslaughter and fatal hit-and-run. The case has been tied up in court for nearly two years as health professionals worked to determine if she was fit to stand trial.

At first doctors believed Blandford's competency could be restored. Given her diagnosis, however, they now say that will not happen.

"Now it's just a matter of moving on, helping my mother and siblings deal with it," Phillips said.

He said he hopes to start a foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of the prescription sleep aid Ambien.

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