Fans of actress Anne Heche have been holding their breath together and waiting since her violent car accident on May 5.
Heche crashed her Mini Cooper into an apartment garage in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood before taking off again, only to crash into a nearby house, according to TMZ. A neighbor found the front wall of the home was missing, and Heche’s car was stuck in the back wall, according to the Los Angeles Times. The crash started a serious fire that destroyed the home, and Heche was taken to a hospital with severe burns and intubated. Although her publicist stated the next day that her condition was stable, this turned out to be false as Heche’s condition turned out to be significantly worse. “Shortly after the accident, Anne Heche passed out, fell into a coma and is in critical condition,” a spokesman said.
Investigators have been working to determine if Heche, who has been open about her experiences with drug use and mental health issues, was under the influence at the time of the crash and obtained a search warrant for her blood. The Aug. 11 results showed Heche had narcotics in her system, according to CNN, but more testing is needed to determine if she received them at the hospital. In the meantime, it is sufficient to extend the police investigation from an administrative offense to a DUI criminal offense. Amidst these developments, Nicki Swift spoke exclusively to an expert to see how Heche’s health condition could affect her case.
Legal expert says too much remains to be seen
While Anne Heche’s fans and supporters are hoping for good news on her health as she remains in a coma at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, Nicki Swift is currently speaking exclusively with Defense Attorney and former Los Angeles County Attorney Joshua Ritter, according to CNN Partners with Werksman Jackson & Quinn, LLP. We asked if Heche’s condition would delay the trial.
“The only delay would be at the request of Heche or her attorneys, for example if she is so injured that she cannot defend herself,” Ritter said, it appears. “However, if she is fit to stand trial and has not sustained any type of brain injury, she will be on the same timeline as any other defendant because she has the same constitutional rights as any defendant.”
We also asked Ritter how much jail Heche could face if she is charged with a felony on the DUI after the home’s owner, Lynne Mishele, suffered injuries from debris and smoke related to the accident, according to Fox News. Not to mention the mental and emotional trauma she experienced when Mishele and her pets (two dogs and a turtle) narrowly escaped the collision, according to People. “It’s too early to tell,” said Ritter, “depends on what they ultimately accuse her of.