F.T. Norton
Appeal staff writer

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July 12, 2007
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Alleged drunk driver wreaks havoc

A Carson City woman was drunk Thursday when she drove her car through the front of a pizza shop, then fled the scene and t-boned a vehicle on Carson Street, police said.

Nicole Andrews, 23, a sub-shop employee, was booked into the Carson City Jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run causing injury, misdemeanor hit-and-run with property damage, first-offense drunken driving and failure to render aid.

Tom Kelly said he was at the Papa Murphy's on South Carson Street trying to decide which pizza to order about 6:45 p.m., when he heard an explosion.

"I thought something blew up, then it hit me in the back," said Kelly, his hands and legs bleeding from shattered glass. The Hyundai barreled through the store front, striking Kelly where he stood.

Employee Andrew Harthorn had just left the shop's counter to answer the phone when the accident happened. He said he ran out front in time to see Kelly's body slide off the roof of the car.

Kelly remembers jumping to his feet and trying to get out of the way when he got a clear look at the driver.

"She has this crazy look on her face. Then she made up her mind what she wanted to do and started to back out slowly," he recalled. "She kind of hesitated a moment in the parking lot, then took off."

Police believe Andrews then drove north on 395, cut through the Arby's parking lot and made a right turn onto Curry Street. She allegedly continued north on Curry until she made a wrong-way left turn onto Telegraph Street.

At the intersection, Andrews didn't stop when she made a left onto Carson Street, said Tessla Higuera who, along with driver Greg Compton, was northbound in a Ford Explorer.

"We tried to stop but it was too late," Higuera said. "She slammed into us."

Both Higuera and Compton said Andrews didn't stop so they began to chase her. For the next 15 blocks to the Walgreen parking lot on Highway 50 East, the Explorer followed the Hyundai at speeds up to 70 miles per hour, Compton said.

He said they hollered out the window to Andrews to stop, but she just wagged her finger at them.

"She said no way," Compton said.

At Walgreens, Higuera saw the passenger door open on the Hyundai and a woman begin to get out.

"Then she just gunned it," sending the passenger rolling into the parking lot, she said.

Deputies stopped Andrews' vehicle, its front end damaged, at a stop light near Gold Dust West.

As she attempted to perform field sobriety tests in front of a crowd, Andrews explained she was nervous.

"I've never had this many cops before," she said with a chuckle.

She was unable to walk in a straight line, or hold her foot off the ground without stumbling, witnesses said.

When Deputy Glenn Fair read aloud the breathalyzer test reading - .264, more than three times the legal limit - Andrews said she had one beer.

"Please don't let this go on my insurance. I'll be in a lot of trouble," she reportedly pleaded. "I don't have a lot of money. I just got a job."

Upon hearing of the accidents, Andrews protested her innocence.

"I didn't hit anything," she said.

Donn Leyba, area director of Papa Murphy's, said Andrews worked for him a month ago at the same store she drove through.

He had to fire her, he explained.

"For drinking on the job," Leyba said.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 13, 2007 03:18PM Published Jul 12, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.