Vehicular Homicide Trial Begins

A trial begins today for a woman charged with vehicular homicide in the death of a West Richland man last June.

The prosecution states the defendant, Natalie Lincoln was impaired when her car crossed over the center line on Van Giesen St. striking 50-year-old Steven Covert's car coming from the other direction.

Covert died later at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Lincoln is accused of being under the influence of the prescription muscle relaxer, Baclofen.

Her defense attorney said she's been prescribed the drug and has been taking it for more than three years and said her medical care provider will testify that she's never had any issues with driving while on this drug.

Covert's teenage son, who was in the car with him the night of June 11th, testified in court today.

He and his sister said the start of this trial is forcing them to relive that entire day all over again.

"It's really hard to see and hear and to look at the pictures of what happened," said Shelby Covert, the victim's daughter. 

"I've tried to forget it, even though I'll never be able to forget it," said Dylan Covert, the victim's son.

The defense said Lincoln took her eyes off the road for a few seconds to set her cruise control and when she looked up she was in a car accident.

The prosecution said it only takes 1.5 seconds to react, it said Covert's car reacted meaning Lincoln should have at least made some sort of turn, which she did not.

The prosecution said Lincoln failed an eye test at Kadlec where she was being treated for injuries following the accident.

Her defense said she was given a similar test earlier and passed and failed this one after she was given morphine for her pain.    

The prosecution, however, said morphine cannot cause horizontal gaze nystagmus, which was determined by the test, Referring to a lateral or horizontal jerking when the eye gazes to the side.

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