AG's report says woman shot and killed by police had alcohol, drugs in her system
CONCORD — The woman shot to death by a New Hampshire State Police trooper last month after a high speed chase from Interstate 89 in Hopkinton to a Manchester city street was legally drunk, with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, the state Attorney General's Office said.
Attorney General Joseph Foster announced Friday that Wendy Lawrence, 45, of Canterbury also had drugs in her system on Sept. 30 when she was shot and killed by a trooper near the intersection of Kennard Road and Dave Street in Manchester.
Foster had previously concluded that the shooting by Trooper Chad Lavoie was a justified use of deadly force.
The Attorney General's Office said Friday that testing on blood samples revealed Lawrence had a blood-alcohol level of 0.182. The legal limit in New Hampshire is 0.08. The tests also revealed the presence of marijuana and two prescription drugs, Oxycodone and Prozac, in Lawrence's blood.
Lawrence had prior history of three convictions for drunken driving, and 10 convictions for other crimes, according to court records. Her New Hampshire state driver's license had been suspended for being a habitual traffic offender.
During the chase, at speeds police said reached 80-90 mph, Lawrence was initially stopped by a state trooper on I-89, but took off, became involved in an accident on the highway, but sped off, again at a high rate of speed.
After an investigation, Foster concluded it was reasonable for Trooper Lavoie to believe Lawrence would have run him down had he not opened fire on her behind the wheel of the car. An autopsy showed she suffered four gunshot wounds, one of them fatal. Lawrence received a gunshot graze wound to the left jaw area and to one of her fingers on her left hand.
Citing Lawrence's criminal history, the Attorney General's Office concluded that she most likely knew she would go to prison on a conviction for driving after her license was revoked and had reason to flee, leading to the police chase that ended with her death.