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Wrong way driver accused of manslaughter Neal Putnam | Sat, Jan 12 2013 12:00 PM

A National City woman was arraigned Jan. 3 for driving the wrong way on a freeway and killing a motorist in a head-on collision while she was allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

April Carole Thompson, 23, was driving to her boyfriend’s house in El Cajon on Dec. 29 and somehow entered the wrong way on state Route 52 near Mast Boulevard in Santee. She is accused of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated when she struck Jayme Midlam, 25, who died instantly at 12:58 a.m. in his 1972 Volkswagen.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said two tests at a hospital two hours later showed she drove at .19 and .21 blood alcohol level, which is more than twice the limit for felony drunk driving. Runyon said Thompson told authorities she only had one glass of vodka on Dec. 28 at 4 p.m.

“The blood alcohol level represented to me is a lot more than one glass of vodka,” said San Diego Superior Court Judge David Szumowski.

The judge set bail at $250,000 after her attorney unsuccessfully urged bail be set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday, Jan. 16.

“We do believe that conduct — driving the wrong way on a freeway at 1 a.m. — represents a profound danger,” said Runyon.

She drove her sister’s pickup truck and it slammed into Midlam’s 1972 Volkswagen, whose front seat was crushed in the impact. Midlam, of San Diego, was driving home after a shift at UPS.

Thompson suffered facial injuries and she had two black eyes when she appeared before Szumowski in jail clothes.

“I talked to her and she has no recollection,” said her boyfriend regarding the incident.

“We feel devastated for the young man’s family, especially his mother,” said Thompson’s mother, Janet Cowan of Chico. “We’ve been praying for them non-stop.”

“She feels horrible about it. This is not like her. April is so sorry. We hope (the victim’s family) finds some comfort from God,” said Cowan.

Thompson remains in the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility.

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