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WMUR-TV reporter not guilty of striking pedestrian while driving drunk

Union Leader Correspondent

June 15. 2016 5:11PM
Audrey Cox hugs one of her lawyers, Andrew Cotrupi, while hearing she was found not guilty of reckless conduct and aggravated drunken driving. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader correspondent)

Editor’s note: A jury found Audrey Cox not guilty of all charges in June, 2016. The record of her arrest was later annulled in August, 2016.

BRENTWOOD – A jury found a WMUR-TV reporter not guilty on all charges that she was driving under the influence along Hampton Beach where she struck a 79-year-old woman standing on a sidewalk.

Audrey Cox, 53, of Lowell, Mass., hugged one of her lawyers after a jury foreperson read not guilty verdicts on felony charges of aggravated drunken driving and reckless conduct. Jurors also found Cox not guilty of a lesser-included drunken driving charge.

“I probably have not been more relieved about a verdict in my entire career,” defense lawyer Andrew Cotrupi said following the verdict. Jurors came to a unanimous decision in the case in just under an hour.

Cox was arrested by Hampton police after striking Sandra Dary on the night of Sept. 25 around 7 p.m. Cox struck Dary while making a turn along Ocean Boulevard near Winnacunnet Road.

Prosecutors argued that Cox drove her 2011 Jeep Patriot on the sidewalk and struck Dary just as she finished walking her dog. Dary sustained a fracture to her right foot and hip, prosecutors said.

Cotrupi argued that Hampton police conducted a shoddy investigation and never pinpointed where Dary was struck along the road.

“I think the jury’s verdict speaks to what they thought of the investigation,” Cotrupi said.

Cotrupi credited his investigators with tracking down three witnesses, including a woman who called 911 on the night of the accident, who testified for the defense that Cox did not appear intoxicated.

Defense lawyer John Durkin also was brought into the case because of his expertise in medical issues.

Cotrupi argued that there was no evidence of damage to Cox’s Jeep, and that Dary’s testimony could not be trusted. Cox had glassy eyes – which a police officer viewed as a sign of impairment – was due to her taking a prescription of lithium, according to Cotrupi.

Assistant County Attorney Karen Springer argued that Cox was deceptive while being questioned by police, first saying she had nothing to drink that day then later admitting that she had a glass of chardonnay at lunch. Springer also suggested that Cox’s behavior at the accident scene indicated she wanted to avoid contact with the law by making repeated offers to take Dary home before first-responders arrived.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said Cox was a former TV reporter. WMUR says she has been cleared to come back to work after the not guilty verdict. 

Crime Hampton


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