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Revere crash suspect may have been impaired from a combination of beer, sleep medication, and CBD oil

CHELSEA, MA - DECEMBER 10: Autumn L. Harris, 42, of Boston looks over at her mother during her arraignment in Chelsea Trial Court on vehicle homicide. Harris was driving a SUV when it veered off Route 145 on Sunday and struck a 5 year old, 2 year old, 2 month old and two women. The 5 year old was pronounced dead at the scene while the 2 month old remains in critical condition. December 10, 2018 (Staff Photo By Faith Ninivaggi/ Boston Herald) (Faith Ninivaggi)

REVERE — Prosecutors say the 42-year-old Boston woman who allegedly struck five pedestrians with her SUV on Route 145 Sunday night, killing a 5-year-old girl and critically injuring a 2-month-old infant, may have been impaired from a combination of beer, sleep medication, and CBD oil.

The 5-year-old girl has been identified as Adrianna Mejia-Rivera, a student at an undisclosed elementary school in Revere.

Autumn Harris pleaded not guilty to charges of motor vehicle homicide and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in Chelsea District Court on Monday. Harris was held on $10,000 bail and ordered to remain drug- and alcohol-free if she posts that amount, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

State Police said the collision occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Harris veered off the roadway at the intersection of North Shore Road onto the grass median strip, striking the pedestrians, who were at the crosswalk, with her 2015 Chevrolet Equinox SUV.

Prosecutors said Harris told State Police in a recorded statement she had consumed one beer earlier in the afternoon before the crash and had taken both prescription and over-the counter medication for sleep the night before.

She told police she was sleep deprived, having slept only two hours before working all day Sunday, had vaped CBD oil, derived from marijuana, in her vehicle and may have nodded off at the wheel, prosecutors said.

Harris was unable to take a breath test, but investigators obtained a search warrant for a blood sample and her cellphone to help determine whether she was impaired or distracted at the time of the collision, prosecutors said.

Along with the Mejia-Rivera, who was pronounced dead at the scene, and the infant, who remains in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, two women and a 2-year-old were also injured and taken to Mass General.

Harris’ passenger, a 40-year-old East Boston woman, was injured and treated at Mass General.

Harris’ attorney, Jeff Miller, declined comment.

Maureen Harris, Autumn Harris’ mother, told reporters following the arraignment her daughter was taking a muscle relaxant and didn’t know if that contributed to the accident. She said her daughter called her, unsure of what happened with the crash, saying “I don’t know, all of a sudden, it just happened.”

“There are no words to describe our sorrow for this innocent child and her family,” said Suffolk County District Attorney John P. Pappas in a statement. “We will follow the evidence wherever it leads and we will do our level best to speak on their behalf in the wake of this devastating tragedy.”

Mayor Brian M. Arrigo said in a statement grief counselors were at Mejia-Rivera’s elementary school on Monday and would be available to students and parents for as long as needed. Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly and a crisis team were also at the school.

“We are overcome with sorrow by this unthinkable loss,” Arrigo said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire city of Revere, I express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family, knowing that no words can begin to ease their pain and sadness.”

The mayor said the city continues to push for traffic and safety improvements in the area, “but unfortunately no traffic design can prevent impaired driving.”

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