published Friday, September 20th, 2013

Maria Leyva-Martinez charged in traffic death on Highway 153

A 35-year-old woman is accused of driving drunk and causing a car crash on Highway 153 last month that led to a man's death.

Maria Leyva-Martinez, of Hixson, faces charges of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and reckless endangerment after the Aug. 3 crash, according to a police report.

When Chattanooga police interviewed Leyva-Martinez at Erlanger hospital, she appeared to be impaired, according to the report. She said she was coming from a party and couldn't tell officers how many drinks she had.

Leyva-Martinez, who was driving a Chevy Impala, reportedly "came across the turning lane, entered into oncoming traffic and struck the Chevrolet Prism head on in the middle lane. The Prism rotated after the initial impact and was struck again by the Ford Explorer," the report states.

Ricky Duncan, 54, was driving the Prism. He remained hospitalized until he died Sept. 1.

So far, Chattanooga police have investigated 18 traffic fatalities this year. There were 22 in 2012.

Nearly half are alcohol related.

Leyva-Martinez had a bond set at $206,400. She also was cited for driving left of the center line, failing to maintain lane and driving without a license.

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