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Woman Claims Praying While Driving Caused Nearly Fatal Crash

A woman says that she was praying behind the wheel when she crashed her vehicle, injuring a woman who was trying to get her grandchildren out of her car in Bellevue, Ohio.

The 50-year-old victim, Pamela Beckham, suffered a broken neck and various other injuries. She was flown in a medical helicopter to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, where she was admitted in critical condition.

The vehicle had been heading east on East Main Street at the time of the accident. Beckham was exiting her vehicle in front of the Bellevue Public Library and was trying to get her grandchild out of the car.

Bellevue police first thought that the driver, 62-year-old Marilyn Perry, was using her cellphone or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. They had charged her with operating a vehicle under the influence, driving in marked lanes and failure to control, reported Sandusky Register.

She was released on bond later that night after posting $200, 10 percent of her $2,000 bond.

The investigation revealed that she had not been using her cellphone and her system was clean of drugs or alcohol. Regardless, prosecutors and police decided that she should still be charged with vehicular assault, reported Fox 8.

According to authorities, Perry said the accident was caused because she was praying at the time. She said she was having some personal problems and was praying while driving, every so often putting her head down.

It was not until after Perry and her lawyer convinced a Huron County judge to place her in an intervention program and on three years’ probation that police found out about the prayer defense.

Darl Beckham, Pamela’s husband, said that they do not believe that she was actually praying. “I don’t believe that for a second because church-going people are better people than that," he said. "For one, they would have made some sort of attempt to at least see if she was okay or something; they never have.”

Sources: The News-Messenger, Norwalk Reflector, Sandusky Register, Fox 8

Photo Credit: Screenshot via Fox 8


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