Drunk Designated Driver Blames Orange County Fatality On Bicyclist

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

HeatherAzkoulmug.jpg
Azkoul: Designated drivers aren't supposed to get slammed?
At her August 2009 sentencing hearing, Anaheim's Heather Elizabeth Azkoul apologized for what happened after she volunteered to be the designated driver for a group of friends partying at The Block in Orange: She got drunk, drove her friends home and, with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit, ended up killing a bicyclist near Knott's Berry Farm.

"I am very sorry for what happened," Azkoul told Superior Court Judge Richard King, who sentence the then-32-year-old, three-time convicted drunken driver to a term of 20 years to life in a California prison.

Some of that proclaimed regret dissipated while living in Chowchilla State Prison.

In April 2013, Azkoul asked a federal judge to overturn her conviction because King violated her constitutional rights to a fair trial when he excluded alleged evidence of the victim's culpability for riding a bike without reflectors in the middle of the night and six feet into a roadway while wearing headphones.

According to Azkoul's complaint, King should have allowed the defense to tell the jury that the victim, a 41-year-old mother of five children, was high on methamphetamine and booze at the time of the collision.

She alleges the judge improperly blocked her lawyer from offering expert testimony that would have declared "the bicyclist's negligence contributed to or caused," the killing.

Her truth is that "even if she'd been sober and driving the speed limit" she would have "struck the bicyclist" because the victim was riding her bike in "an unsafe manner" with impaired judgment.

"A trial court abuses its discretion and violates a petitioner's constitutional rights when it excludes evidence that would have caused a reasonable jury to form a significantly different opinion of the prosecutor's case," Azkoul wrote.

But her arguments weren't even considered on the merits because she missed the statute of limitations to file her complaint by a year. Confronted with that rejection, Azkoul attempted to claim she should be granted an exemption because her filing got delayed while she battled health issues in prison.

This month, however, U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright, II, accepted a reviewing magistrate judge's recommendation to dismiss the petition and close the appeal.

At the time of the bicyclist fatality, Azkoul was on criminal probation stemming from prior DUI convictions in 2002 and 2004.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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41 comments
osheilamarie
osheilamarie

WOW... Just came across this article because I was curious about what was going on with the woman who killed my sister. I don't condone the fact that my sister was high, but I can't believe that she has the audacity to try and shift the blame on the  woman she left for dead on the side of the road after her 3rd DUI offense. If Heather Azkoul had been a "SOBER" designated driver that night, my sister would still be alive!

applemutt
applemutt

3 DUI's?  I wouldn't have cared if the victim on the bike was drunk, on meth, blind and a double amputee, the victim had nothing to do with this bitch shunning the law she was well aware of and getting behind the wheel.  Rot in jail dumb ass.

Jeff92647
Jeff92647

Sometimes life is unfair. 


Lots of people miss statutes of limitations if they don't have the funds to hire a lawyer at the right time. 


But after two DUI convictions where maybe nobody was hurt, she drives drunk again-- and who would believe it was only once. Sheesh. Sometimes you end up in prison for 20 years just because you are stupid. She still did better than the stupid cyclist who was riding without reflectors, who is dead.


I am mostly opposed to the DUI laws because it ensnares way too many folks who drive responsibly after very moderate social drinking and just don't pose a danger to anyone. 


But this girl is a menace who blew her second chance and blew her third chance. And she has killed once already


If she gets out, she will do it again. If she was a dog, she would be put down. Maybe prison is actually a good place for her. 

949girl
949girl topcommenter

Had she been a first time offender and drove drunk and killed the woman I may have had some sympathy for her.  But if you can't figure out that drinking and driving is wrong after two prior dui's then you probably will never get it.  As far as the victim being drunk and high I do think that is also considered some sort of dui, I've always heard that you can get a dui on a bike.  Maybe it's a myth?!  Not sure, had this been the defendant's first dui and this same accident happened she probably would have received a short prison sentence.  I do think that the victim's blood test should have been introduced at trial though, not sure if it would have helped, maybe if it was the defendant's first offense. 

alljacktyler
alljacktyler

It does sound like she didn't get a fair trial.  And, why would there be any time limit when she can bring up issues of her trial?  Because convicts might try to game the system and wait until witnesses die to bring up those issues?  The answer to that is to make sure everyone gets a fair trial to begin with so that there are no issues.  And, maybe she wasn't educated about what to do in time, too.  Or, maybe, she DID have health issues. 

Dcd Mario
Dcd Mario

when you bash this lady your actually supporting the judges arbitrary decision. you are not affecting the outcome of this lady's sentence, when you bash this lady's rights, your bashing your own liberties when you goto trial. have at it!

Dcd Mario
Dcd Mario

imagine your up for trail for a similar reason. I hope all you Judge supporters are ready to bendover to him when you goto trial, you all better plead Guilty an ask to be sent to WASCO STATE ASAP

Dcd Mario
Dcd Mario

this article is BIGOTED, regardless of what the judge interprets as his right to Let only the prosecutions story be released, Our California constitution reiterates that everyone is given the right to a Fair trail. these rules are in place for a reason, not so they can be torn down on some Fake sensationalistic suto-trendy Weekly toiletpaper. seriously OC put yourself in the drivers shoes, why drink and drive? and put yourself in the bikers shoes, why bike with no light... that's a deathwish in itself, it's like trying to cross the lanes on the 5 on foot, it's retarded.

Jeff Rey
Jeff Rey

While not being sober when the incident occurred, how is it that she expects anyone to trust her recollection of the facts and details of what actually happened?!

Nicole Krramer
Nicole Krramer

I do think bicyclist should have to follow the same laws as drivers, they pop out of nowhere in orange county. Even if you are sober, you are automatically at fault if someone on a bike runs right into your car, even if you are parked!! It isnt right

robincook
robincook

Common murdering drunk.

Too bad it takes someone’s death to remove her from behind the wheel of a car take her off the road.


fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

I'm absolutely certain the poor lady on the bike would still be alive today if Ms. Azkoul had been driving SOBER that night. :-(

Lon Hall
Lon Hall

Occasionally the court system actually gets it right! Too bad juries keep folding and excusing police officers who have done and continue to do as bad or worse.

Janie Bonfanti
Janie Bonfanti

Oh, now sober she is seeing the light! Nice try, stop passing the blame onto others and accept full responsibility for your actions!!!

DayT
DayT

Glad she's not rich, else this can be the 2nd successful Affluenza defense.

Otis Denim
Otis Denim

Scott Mox missed adding the letter D to the word 'sentence' . I don't blame him . Copy !

Steve Calderon
Steve Calderon

Third strike rule! The Full sentence should be serviced / two wrongs don't make a right

Dee Perea
Dee Perea

No sympathy, true. Everyone deserves a fair trial though.

Kelly Langley Westphal
Kelly Langley Westphal

This was her 3rd DUI...AND she fled the scene, leaving the victim in the road. No sympathy for her.

Kate Ran
Kate Ran

That shuda been my defense when i got a dui. I didnt hit anything, but it should have been my phones fault for allowing me to text and drive while intoxicated

Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

"Oops killed someone" "Oops I forgot to submit evidence" "Oops I won't review it". Seems like they knew who they were dealing with.

Eon RosVive
Eon RosVive

her rights where violated when that evidence was not admitted.....

Eon RosVive
Eon RosVive

dude, this chick has a claim.....she was drunk and did deserve to be convicted, but not for "20yrs to LIFE"!.....the bicyclist was a 40yrs female drunk and high on methamphetamine!....teh judge did not allow that evidence and hence prevented her from properly defending herself!....#StupidPublicPretender

imgrammadee
imgrammadee

I thought a DESIGNATED DRIVER was SUPPOSED to be SOBER!  OBVIOUSLY, she didn't understand the meaning of DESIGNATED SOBER DRIVER.

tubthumper59
tubthumper59

She deserves the sentence that was handed down. She has three drunk drives arrest and finally killed someone, that a shame.

gottaknow247
gottaknow247

I would like to know her 2009 lawyer's name.....so I will never hire them.  Something just doesn't add up with this story

iebigmike
iebigmike

no when to say when wtf lady

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@949girl  The evidence about the biker should have been taken into consideration, but I don't feel so about after seeing her THREE drunk driving CONVICTIONS by the age of 32?  She shouldn't have been driving in the first place.  I think if I had ONE DUI, I would be sure I never had anything to drink before driving.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@alljacktylerA federal judge extensively reviewed this inmate's records (including medical), determined there was no evidence of any mental incapacitation during the period when she missed filing the necessary appeal, and dismissed the complaint.

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