An Ohio woman who was celebrating her wedding anniversary when she was killed in a bicycle accident in St. Helena last spring had a 0.18 blood alcohol level, more than twice the amount at which a person is presumed to be too intoxicated to drive a motor vehicle.
St. Helena Police on Tuesday said the primary factor in the collision that killed Maria Crozier, 31, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, was the alcohol she consumed the day she hit a slow-moving truck on Main Street.
Crozier was wine tasting with her husband just before the fatal May 26 accident, which occurred one year to the date of their wedding.
She exited a driveway across the street from the landmark Gott’s Roadside restaurant, then ran into the side of a contract mail truck before being run over by the truck’s rear wheels.
Police Sgt. Matt Talbott said he was surprised at the high level of alcohol in the woman’s system given that her husband Brad Crozier, 38, said she only consumed a limited amount of wine that day — in the adjacent Merryvale Winery prior to the accident.
“He said they had received four to five tastings apiece. He described a small amount in each glass and said she gave two to him,” because she didn’t care for a couple of the wines, Talbott said.
He said the toxicology tests, which are “pretty reliable” and hard to refute, were conducted by a private lab under the auspices of the Napa County sheriff and coroner ‘s office.
Bicycle DUI law is different from motor vehicle law. Instead of having a specified legal limit, officers must determine whether the level of intoxication interferes with the ability to operate a bike.
The couple were on loaner bikes from the Harvest Inn where they were staying and had been married a year before.
Police looked into the braking system on the woman’s bicycle since it was only equipped with a front brake.
Talbott said he indicated in his report that the bicycle’s equipment did not meet the requirements of the vehicle code, which stipulates that a brake must leave a locked wheel skid on level, dry pavement.
But the lack of a rear brake was not considered a contributing factor to the accident.
“Our opinion is the brake on the bike was functioning as intended by the manufacturer. Had it been used, it probably would have prevented the collision,” he said.
Crozier, whose maiden name was Vigliucci, had a master’s degree in business and was a manager at PolyOne Corp., a provider of specialized polymer materials and services, according to her Linked-In profile.
Her resume listed a brief stint as an intern for former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark. firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@clarkmas