Lisa Norton, hit & swim driver in fatal Gabriel Nielsen crash: DUI beefs, pot in truck (VIDEO)

Categories: Colorado Crimes

lisa norton mug shot cropped.jpg
Big pic below.
The case of Lisa Norton, who's accused of trying to swim away from a fatal accident she allegedly caused, keeps getting more bizarre. Authorities now confirm that she was sentenced to probation for DUI last Thursday, just two days before the crash that killed Gabriel Nielsen -- and cops, who already suspect her of driving drunk, found marijuana in her truck.

Norton's earlier DUI arrest took place in March. She reportedly was pulled over near North Foothills Parkway and Longhorn Road by a deputy who noticed she was weaving. She stopped, but as the deputy approached on foot, she took off again, prompting a brief chase -- and she wasn't exactly cooperative after being reeled in a second time. Hence, her sentence last week to twelve months' probation for DUI. Charges of illegal lane changes, eluding a police officer, resisting arrest and another DUI were dropped due to her guilty plea, even though she'd also been convicted of drunk driving back in 2006, according to the Denver Post.

gabriel nielsen avery nielsen.jpg
Gabriel Nielsen with daughter Avery in a photo provided to the Longmont Times-Call.
Not that there appears to have been any lesson-learning involved. Two days later, Norton was behind the wheel of her Ford Ranger pickup -- a no-no, given that her license had been revoked -- when she was part of a non-injury accident on Nelson Road. But instead of stopping, she kept going -- a decision that would prove horrific. Further down Nelson, she is said to have crossed the center line, smashing into a Nissan that contained Nielsen, 33, his sister Cherish Francis, 24, and his daughter Avery, age two.

Nielsen died at the scene, while Francis suffered a broken arm and ribs and young Avery wound up with multiple skull fractures and remains in critical condition.

In contrast, Norton was able to leave her truck under her own power and immediately headed to the edge of a nearby reservoir -- the apparent idea being that she would swim to freedom. She denied to boaters who eventually fished her out of the water that she was involved in the accident, but the Longmont cops waiting for her at the dock didn't buy that. They describe her as combative and verbally abusive while being taken into custody.

Oh yeah: Inside her truck, cops found a glass pipe and a bag of marijuana -- although they suspect alcohol was a significant factor in the crash.

At present, Norton remains behind bars on $1 million bail. She won't be driving again anytime soon. Look below for a larger version of her mug shot and our earlier coverage.

lisa norton mug shot.jpg
Lisa Norton.

lisa norton reservoir.jpg
Video below.
Original item, 9:08 a.m. June 27: We've all heard about hit-and-run accidents -- but a hit-and-swim accident? According to the Colorado State Patrol, that's what happened in the case of Lisa Norton, who may have been driving on a suspended license when she allegedly caused an accident that killed Gabriel Nielsen and injured two others, including a two-year-old child.

Just last Thursday, a woman also named Lisa Norton was reportedly sentenced to twelve months probation in Boulder County for driving while ability impaired. But if she's the same person, this punishment didn't prevent her from getting back behind the wheel only two days later.

On Saturday, Norton was piloting a Ford Ranger pickup that was part of a non-injury accident on Nelson Road. But instead of stopping to assess the damage, she continued driving. She was headed eastbound on Nelson near the intersection of 63rd Avenue just after 6:30 p.m. when the truck cropped the center line and smashed into a Nissan coupe driven by Nielsen, 33. Also inside: Cherish Francis, 24, and the aforementioned two-year-old.

Nielsen died at the scene, while Francis and the child were transported first to Longmont United Hospital and later to Denver Health Medical Center with serious injuries.

And Norton? She was still in good enough shape to walk away from the truck -- but instead of racing to check on the occupants of the Nissan, she moved toward a nearby reservoir. As she was about to climb in, KWGN reports, a boater asked if she'd been part of the accident -- and she said, "No" in a manner that suggested she wasn't totally coherent. She then started to swim, but the boater and her husband picked her up and took her to their dock. There, representatives of the Longmont Police Department were waiting.

Norton is now staring at a vehicular manslaughter count -- and more allegations could be on the way. Look below to see the aforementioned video.

 

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Brittany Gonzales accused of running over child, going back to get hubcap, then splitting (VIDEO)."

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40 comments
Dave Butler
Dave Butler

 Lisa and I are old friends and I am so sad to hear about all of this.  Lisa is a woman who loves life.  Kind, sweet and a beautiful heart.  This news makes me so ridiculously sad and what makes me sadder is that no one loved her enough to get her to seek help with her addictions.  I haven't seen her in a really long time but my heart goes out to her and to the Nielsen family.  This whole thing is so tragic and it breaks my heart to know that so many people are suffering. :-(

CK30
CK30

I am in utter disbelief at this.

I went to high school with Lisa and she was a very smart girl who graduated near the top of her class. I never in a million years imagined she could be capable of something like this.

My most sincere condolences to the Nielsen family. .

GA7585
GA7585

CK30, I went to school with Lisa too.  When I was told about this yesterday (nearly 3 weeks later), I was in complete disbelief. She was so smart and kind.  I also could have never imagined seeing her name attached to an article like this.  It breaks my heart for many reasons: she is suffering severely. If she was on anti-depressants before, Im sure they are going to have to triple them now.  Her family is suffering knowing she caused this poor man to die and leave his daughter with brain damage and without a daddy.  And, his family is suffering.  Nielsen Family, I am sooo sorry that you are suffering because of Lisa.  I have been praying alot for your family since yesterday.  It is my hope that now she can get the help she desperately needs.  I'm just deeply heartbroken that it took the life of your son to get it for her.  Many prayers will continue to go out to your family, as well as Lisa's and Lisa herself. 

Kuei
Kuei

American women just gotta have their dope.

JoeeyLaRusso
JoeeyLaRusso

Sounds like the woman has an alcohol problem.I'd rather have lazy pot-heads driving than drunks.

Guest
Guest

"Drunk drivers kill people, stoned drivers just miss their exits"

Kuei
Kuei

Alcohol is dope. The worst kind. I agree about the pot, however, the "glass pipes" could have been for crack.

GA7585
GA7585

But there was no crack found was there? NO! She was not a crack head.  Not all glass pipes are for crack or meth.  When I was younger, I smoked pot.  I had several small glass bowls...the police call them pipes.  This is a horrific situation for all involved.  Don't make it worse than it already is.  esheil said it perfectly "But sometimes you head down a path and don't realize where it is taken you until it is too late".  I am friends with Lisa; however, I do not agree with her decision to drink and drive.  My daddy was almost killed by a drunk driver.  Hit and run case...they never caught him though.  So this truly hits home and breaks my heart.  I can completely understand how everyone wants the book thrown at her.  But at the same time, this is my friend.  Someone I care about.  To see these horrible stories about her and the chaos she has created and the lives she has destroyed breaks my heart and wishes I or someone else could have helped her before it came to this.  

Colodriver
Colodriver

Americans currently have the freedom to drive drunk with potentially lethal consequences as seen here. My heart goes out to the Nielson family, and friends.

(Ms. Norton you fu@@ed:twitter up bad this time, and time you should serve). These behaviors will occur in our society with our current freedoms. How ironic with these freedoms this July Fourth holiday weekend someone else will exercise poor judgement and drive drunk, no doubt!

 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Ominous point about the 4th, Colodriver. Thanks for the reminder.

NMoody
NMoody

Gabe and I served in the Army together.  He loved the outdoors, and was always smiling and had a sunny outlook on life.  I only found out today through a mutual friend of ours. This crime shouldn't have happened.  It's a tragic loss to the Nielson family.  He will be sorely missed.  I pray his daughter recovers and learns who her father was.

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sounds like an epic end to a Lifetime movie 

Fred
Fred

I know this young lady.  I would never have expected this, but it just shows how bad decisons can ruin and take lives.  I guarantee she is suffering badly for what she has done and she deserves to.  Be careful before you condemn though.  She could be your sister or daughter.  Then you would have to love and hate her at the same time like her family is doing.

OutToLunch
OutToLunch

If you know her, do you know if she was taking Lexapro or some other type(s) of psych meds?  They are known to cause horrific alcohol cravings in some people prone to alcoholism.  Also, when getting probation for numerous DUI's, it usually involves some type of mental health treatement which is usually anti-depressants.  I actually had this very problem and was getting into lots of trouble from being on Lexapro and once I figured that out, and stopped taking all the drugs, my problems disappeared.

Bcdonsbach
Bcdonsbach

 she killed my cousin and i hope she gets life in prison

Whatson
Whatson

Better even, third party liability cases are now being won and accepted against negligent prescribers of mental health meds which means that family could possibly win a wrongful death suit against the doctor or mental health provider who allowed her to be out on the street in this condition.

The family of David Ragsdale is getting permission for a civil suit to go ahead against the prescriber.  The families of the victims shot by the college professor Amy Bishop who was on antidepressants currently has on file a civil lawsuit naming all prescribers and manufacturers of psychotropics as co-defendants.   The estate of Rebecca Riley won a civil lawsuit against the psychiatrist for the entire limit of her malpractice insurance.  Hopefully there will be many, many more.

She apparently was in some type of mandatory mental health program since she was already on probation for DUI which usually include a diagnosis or at least prescribed psychotropics.  

Many psychotropics are known to induce mania and cause out of control alcohol abuse and intense intoxication.   It's worth checking out in your cousin's memory to prevent more preventable tragedies like this. 

Kuei
Kuei

Trust and believe, your problems have NOT disappeared, and Lexapro was not the cause. Maybe what you should have been taking was Laxapro.

Det.TrappieBailey
Det.TrappieBailey

I don't need any bogus psych meds but you need a nice tall glass of STFU juice.  LOL short, fat, powerless little man.

esheil
esheil

I agree. Someone's life can change in a matter of seconds. Lisa is a very kind, loving and talented person and I know she is suffering. I understand the anger because of what happened and the things that have happened since March. But sometimes you head down a path and don't realize where it is taken you until it is too late. I will pray for the family of the victims and Lisa's family. They are all suffering.

Shinane29
Shinane29

she is suffering so bad that when they took lisa to the hospital she was concerned about her 40 dollar bra being cut off. also think of the 2yr old child do any of you lisa norton supporters think of the child.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Excellent post, esheil -- one we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats, and thanks for posting.

wtfk
wtfk

"Oh yeah: Inside her truck, cops found a glass pipe and a bag of marijuana -- although they suspect alcohol was a significant factor in the crash."This is a rare case where it's basically admitted that pot probably wasn't a factor, but as with any time they ever find the herb, it will be documented as a "marijuana (cannabis) related" accident.  This is how "stoned driving" stats get inflated. For that matter, it's how "alcohol-related" stats get inflated too. The state implies that substances are to blame even when there is a lot of evidence they're not (though in this case, it's probably alcohol is.) For example, if someone broadsides you at an intersection that you entered responsibly and legally, but you have an open container, or a joint, the accident will be called alcohol/drug related. This helps inflate the state's budget for harassing law-abiding people with things like checkpoints.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting point of view, wtfk. Thanks for posting.

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its not really a point of view... its educational information . 

Thomas David Kehoe
Thomas David Kehoe

Why can't the courts take away the cars of people convicted of DUIs? After a murderer is convicted he or she isn't allowed to keep the gun. Some courts will take away a car if drugs are found in the car. It makes no sense to me for a court to tell a woman not to drive for a year, and then give her keys back.

Davee
Davee

DUI does not equal murder. Most DUIs do not result in accidents; cops pull people over for things like signaling improperly or illegal u-turns and smell alcohol. But, like I said above, nothing short of being in jail can stop a person from driving if they're really determined to do so, probation be damned.

Thomas David Kehoe
Thomas David Kehoe

Not having a car is pretty good deterrent to driving. Without a drivers license she can't rent a car. She might be able to borrow a car but her list of friends willing to loan her their cars can't be long. If the court impounds her car pretty soon she'll figure out how to take the bus to the liquor store.

I remember after Oregon passed a law allowing the police to impound cars used by drug offenders. A prosecutor told me how effective this was to get low-level drug dealers to roll over on their suppliers. She'd threaten the drug dealer with prison time; they didn't care, they'd see their buddies in prison. She threaten them with probation; that was worse, they didn't like peeing in a bottle every week, but they still didn't talk. Then she'd threaten to take away their cars. Grown men covered with tattoos would start crying and begging her not to take away their 1972 Vega wagons with the big speakers in back! They'd turn state's evidence to keep their cars. :-)

YMMV
YMMV

How many DUI's is too many?  I would argue one.  WTF is the judge thinking?  Driving is a privilege not a right.  I hope she goes to jail for a very long time.  And if she ever gets out, every penny she makes goes to the victim's family.  Every frickin penny.   Don't like it?  Tough shit.  Don't drink and drive and kill someone.  She made a conscious choice that cost someone else their life.

It was not an accident.  She has multiple previous convictions for this very thing.

How could you ever live with yourself knowing your selfish actions took another innocent person's life?  Karma's a bitch.

Guest
Guest

It was a first offense and she was under suspension. if she drove she did so illegally. 

We can't surveill people 24 hours a day that have been convicted of misdemeanors, can we? it was her responsibility to not drive and clean up, not the courts. They gave her that chance and she failed. System isnt perfect.

Guest
Guest

Disgusting.  This woman should get the death penalty.

Mrk40
Mrk40

Michael--can you find out the judge that only sentenced her to probation.  He or she is culpable and should be thrown off the bench and then sued by the Nielsen family.  People get jail for politically incorrect crimes in Boulder, but this judge let this scumbucket out with a wrist slap.

Davee
Davee

Well, a first-offense, victimless DUI typically doesn't warrant jail time. Nothing a probation office or judge can do if a person decides to drive. Probation does not equal constant supervision.

Steve
Steve

its not her first offense. she had two other DUI citations before the third accident in which she killed someone. and that is what we know about. these are merely the times she was caught but it seems clear that the behavior that landed her where she is now was hardly out of the ordinary.

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