One Pennsylvania woman is sobering up to a nightmarish reality after accidentally killing her husband while mixing alcohol and firearms.
According to Parkside police Chief John Egan, William and Michele Wanko were drinking lemonade and vodka for six hours Friday night before Michele asked her husband to teach her how to shoot a gun.
Though both were plenty buzzed, he agreed and they went downstairs into the couple’s basement. William, 43, took out a few firearms from the family’s safe and while reaching for another one, Michele apparently picked up a semi-automatic pistol and accidentally fired it at him.
"He was able to say, according to her, 'I can't believe you shot me,'" Egan said.
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The bullet hit William in his chest, a little below his Adam’s apple. He attempted to run back up the basement stairs, but then collapsed. Michele frantically dialed 911 shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday morning, and William was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:21 a.m.
The couple had two young boys, ages 5 and 2, who were home at the time of the accident. They have since been placed in the care of other family members.
Michele was charged with involuntary manslaughter following William’s death Saturday night, but has been released after posting bail.
"It's a very sad situation, not only for the wife who has to live with this for the rest of her life, but their children who have to live with this and, of course, have to grow up without a father," Egan said.
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According to Egan, the couple’s neighbors spoke highly of both the husband and wife, calling them pleasant, easy to get along with, and capable parents.
"Why, after six-and-a-half hours of drinking, would you go down and handle a gun, especially with someone who never shot a weapon before?" Egan said. “The real big common denominator is the alcohol and it ended up costing him his life."