Bonner County, ID – A 57-year-old woman has been charged with driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter in connection with the golf cart crash that killed Spokane Police Corporal Jeff McCollough in July.
According to court documents, Julie Nikkola was formally charged on Oct. 26 with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, The Spokesman-Review reported.
She faces up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine if she is convicted.
Nikkola, who allegedly admitted to having consumed two alcoholic drinks prior to the crash that killed Cpl. McCollough, had a blood-alcohol level of .091 approximately three hours after the collision, investigators said.
They noted they believe her blood-alcohol level was even higher at the time the crash occurred, The Spokesman-Review reported.
The Idaho State Police (ISP) said the incident occurred on West Lakeshore Road in the area of Priest Lake at approximately 9 p.m. on July 15, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Investigators said Nikkola was driving the golf cart southbound along with Cpl. McCollough, the corporal’s wife, Trina McCollough, and SPD Officer James Allen when the vehicle’s high rate of speed caused it to wobble.
Nikkola allegedly told police that when the vehicle began shimmying, one of the passengers grabbed the steering wheel and jerked it, causing it to flip, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Witnesses who were driving behind the golf cart said Cpl. McCollough and his wife were riding in the back of the vehicle and that Nikkola was behind the wheel, according to police.
Cpl. McCollough was pronounced dead at the scene, KXLY reported.
The other three golf cart occupants were transported to the hospital, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Cpl. McCollough served with SPD for 23 years.
“The loss is understandably shocking and heart-wrenching for the friends and family of Jeff, as well as SPD as a whole,” the SPD told The Spokesman-Review in a statement shortly after the fatal collision. “Jeff was a beloved colleague and dedicated public servant.”