“Baker was incoherent and unable to pass three field sobriety tests but there was no noticeable odor of alcohol on her breath, the affidavit says. She told the officer she was on Paxil, an antidepressant.”
Thursday, July 23, 2009
A Monroeville woman who died in a crash while driving the wrong way on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was awaiting trial on two cases involving drugged driving, according to court records.
Andrea Baker, 36, died Tuesday night after striking two east-bound tractor-trailers near Monroeville as she drove her sport utility vehicle west-bound, state police said.
Her son, Aiden Baker, 2, who was strapped into a child seat in the SUV, escaped with a bruised left cheek, police said.
The Allegheny Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Baker’s death accidental and concluded she died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen and legs. Toxicology results will be available in three to four months, a medical examiner said.
The truck drivers were not injured.
State police are still investigating why Baker was traveling in the wrong direction. A toll ticket found in her vehicle shows that she may have entered the turnpike at the Allegheny Valley interchange.
Court records show Baker was cited twice in the last year for driving in the wrong lane. Other citations from police in Pittsburgh, Springdale, East Deer, West Deer, Tarentum, North Versailles and Edgewood include careless driving, reckless driving, running a stop sign and ignoring a traffic control device.
Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning had issued an arrest warrant for Baker because she failed to appear July 15 for a hearing on drugged driving charges filed in April by Monroeville police. Baker was found at 1:39 a.m. April 26 in a sport utility vehicle that was hanging over the edge of a hillside, according to a police affidavit.
Baker was incoherent and unable to pass three field sobriety tests but there was no noticeable odor of alcohol on her breath, the affidavit says. She told the officer she was on Paxil, an antidepressant.
Monroeville police charged Baker with drugged driving again on May 6 after another motorist called because her sport utility vehicle was weaving. Baker slurred her words and her eyes had a dazed look, but there was no odor of alcohol, the police affidavit says. She failed three field sobriety tests.