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Emily Hagan: Attorney Says Rain, Street Construction Were Factors in DWI Cyclist Death

emily hagan mug 1.jpg
Emily Hagan
This week, news broke that Emily Hagan, a 31-year-old Kirkwood resident, has accepted a plea deal for a three-year sentence -- one year after she was accused of killing a cyclist while driving drunk in University City.

"Emily...wanted to accept the responsibility and she did," her attorney Art Margulis tells Daily RFT. "This was a tragic situation."

But what led to a plea deal that removed the DWI charge?

Margulis argues that it was a tough case for the prosecution.

See also:
- Emily Hagan Charged in Death of Cyclist Samuel Scott
- Cyclist Fatality: Emily Hagan, Suspect in U. City Drunk Driving Crash, Sentenced
- Bicycle Ban Bill: Will Missouri Lawmakers Prohibit Cycling on Some State Roads?

As we reported last year, Samuel Scott, 19, was riding his bike home from work on a February night on Delmar Boulevard when Hagan apparently rear-ended him -- sending him to the hospital where he died the next day.

Police said Hagan's blood alcohol content was 0.262, which is more than three times the legal limit. That fact landed her charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charges.

But this month, the manslaughter charges were reduced to a lower level felony and the DWI charges were dropped altogether as part of the plea deal that gave Hagan a three-year sentence.

Since that decision, Daily RFT had a chance to speak with her attorney who argues that the prosecution would've struggled had this gone to trial and not been resolved through a plea agreement.

"What's not being made generally known is how difficult the case was for the prosecution," he says. "It was pitch dark [that night]. There was a torrential rain and the street was under construction...and those were all factors that would've weighed heavily on a successful prosecution."

He adds, "Those were clearly critical factors that contributed to what happened."

Margulis says that she will be up for parole after about a year, but that there's no guarantee.

Asked if his client was glad to have the DWI charge dropped, he says, "I would say nobody is pleased about anything in this case.... It was a tragic situation.... We just worked it out the best way we could."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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32 comments
Mary Bradford Sowell
Mary Bradford Sowell

I think the prosecution and the defense who were involved in the case, and know ALL the facts of the case, made the decision based on those facts. The readers of the RFT FB page do not know all the facts of the case, so it's impossible to make an informed decision.

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

Did the cyclist have reflective clothing on or a lights on the bike? Cars are required to why should bikes as well. It is not a easy case even though alcohol was involved it could have very well happened to a sober driver.

Timothy Colmey
Timothy Colmey

Reminds me of Denzel Washington in the movie Flight. Being under the influence trumps any extrenuating circumstances that contributed to the accident. Same as driving w/o insurance- you are automatically at fault bc you shouldn't be driving in the first place.

Trish R Bertrand
Trish R Bertrand

Scott, they admitted to keeping the coffee at unsafe temps, so that people would not use the "free refill" option as much.

Bart Cohn
Bart Cohn

Well, as I recall from the docufilm on that McDonald's coffee incident, McDonald's coffee is like 30 degrees hotter than any other coffee in the fast food industry and there have been 100s or 1000s of serious injuries from McDonald's coffee, injuries requiring skin grafts, etc. McDonald's coffee is too hot to serve at a drive thru, but they still haven't lowered the temperature. Btw, due to tort reform laws, the woman only ever collected a small percentage of the punitive damages. The money she got wasn't even enough to pay for all of her medical and related bills.

Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell

Well, sure. I'm not disputing that particular case. Just the idea in general that a company has to do such goofy things in order to protect themselves in our sue-happy society.

Caitlin MDosz
Caitlin MDosz

Aren't they responsible for selling something THAT hot? In the same way they would be responsible if they made a toy that had unsafely shar edges?

Peggy Keller
Peggy Keller

And that McDonalds had been told several times they needed to turn down the coffee burner by the health dept and they didn't- The family of the lady burned only asked for hospital bills paid and McDonald refused.

Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell

By the way, Caitlin MDosz, I was agreeing with you. ;-)

Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell

Regardless of how hot that woman's coffee was, it's ridiculous that a company has to tell people that the hot coffee they just ordered...is hot, in order to avoid lawsuits.

Leslee Brown
Leslee Brown

Absolutely not. She was drunk and shouldn't have been driving. Drunk driving is against the law

Peggy Keller
Peggy Keller

I didn't realize it was that 7400 block of Delmar. My husband was going into work at about 5am a few years ago and it was rainy and dark, he hit a woman who was wearing a black rain coat and holding an open umbrella. She was not seriously injured, but that area was not well lit at all. So, I can see why the prosecution made the deal,- but she was still VERY drunk. Was she served at a Delmar bar when she was already that trashed?

Kristin Pedigo
Kristin Pedigo

It doesn't matter what time of day it was. If it was noon, they would have claimed the sun was shining in her eyes. This is a huge problem with people in general, no one wants to man up and take responsibility for their actions. Quit making excuses or blaming other factors when the blame rests squarely on your own shoulders.

Caitlin MDosz
Caitlin MDosz

actually Scott Mitchell, people are woefully misinformed on that case due to the media campaign by mcdonalds. That coffee gave that woman 3rd degree burns that went through to her muscles. That coffee was obviously unsafely hot, hence they were penalized with heavy fines. Another case where people make a judgement without knowing the facts. There's a great documentary on it called Hot Coffee

Suzi Twitty
Suzi Twitty

.262 is CRAZY HIGH. she shouldn't have been conscious, let alone behind the wheel. If her BAC had been below .08 or so I can see it being caused by the rain or whatever, but not at over 3 times the legal limit. She should not have been driving and a kid is dead.

Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell

I like your approach, Caitlin MDosz. That's why McDonald's has to put a warning on their coffee to let customers know that it's hot.

Natalie Stephens
Natalie Stephens

A lady got 2 years in prison for spitting at a nurse and she gets 3 years for killing someone ... please explain to me what the hell is wrong with our justice system. We are WAY too easy on drunk drivers if you ask me!

Jen Bean
Jen Bean

Its too bad that she didnt see the cyclist but if she was drunk she should not have been onthe road.

Laura Parker
Laura Parker

Driving a car is like handling a weapon. You are responsible to everyone else on the streets when you apply for a license and sit behind a wheel. It is your responsibility to measure your capacity to drive. And that responsibility includes determining if weather and other driving conditions are going interfere with your ability to safely handle your automobile. You need to consider if your alcohol consumption, together with road conditions, is going to allow you to maintain control of your vehicle. If you should encounter slick roads, are you at your best condition to handle the car safely. Accidents do happen but we all need to be certain we are doing all that we can to avoid them. And that means not driving while under the influence.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

No, when it's raining and dark is when a driver needs to show increased awareness and focus and responsibility. The first wrong is the driving while intoxicated, and that first wrong ought to be punished severely.

Bart Cohn
Bart Cohn

I don't know how Art Margulis sleeps at night.

Sarah Ann
Sarah Ann

No not all, She was STILL DRUNK.

ppmce
ppmce

Outrageous, to complete relieve someone three times the legal limit of a DWI charge and a mere three years for manslaughter is insulting.Who is the District Attorney?If the criminal can’t be held accountable then turn out at the polls and tell the district attorney with your votes, how you feel about being soft on crime.Amazing, simply amazing, the DWI alone should have gotten a year with a one year suspended sentence.Manslaughter carries 1-15 years.If it had been my child she killed I would have been in the public eye demanding justice.

StL__T
StL__T

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think if you are intoxicated, you have NO RIGHT to be driving on the road. It seems insane to argue that "Because of low visibility and rain my severely intoxicated client rear ended a bicycle rider and killed him" Driving at night is more difficult, that only argues for anyone driving at night be taking EXTRA precautions. 

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