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Drunk driver who hit teen outside school gets prison time

December 9, 2012 |  8:29 am

An impaired Costa Mesa driver who struck a Newport Harbor High School student crossing the street outside the school was sentenced Friday to seven years in state prison.

Marnie Jo Lippincott, 39, pleaded guilty in September in Orange County Superior Court to felony driving under the influence. The charges included enhancements for causing great bodily injury or paralysis, as well as a misdemeanor for driving with a suspended license.

Lippincott was intoxicated while driving her black Chevy Tahoe on Dec. 6, 2011, when she hit Crystal Morales, a 17-year-old senior who was walking in the crosswalk off Margaret Drive, near Irvine Avenue and the northwestern end of Harbor High.

Morales was placed into a physician-induced coma after the incident and has since been recovering from head injuries. Her mother, Gloria Morales, described the incident as a 100-pound Crystal versus a 5,000-pound SUV.

Before Crystal was hit, she had called her mother to tell her she was walking home and planned to play some video games with friends.

Since the fateful day, Gloria Morales said she's been helping her daughter in a manner none too different than when she was an infant.

"I had to bathe her and change her diapers, just like when she was a little girl," Gloria said.

She said her daughter now suffers suicidal thoughts, short-term memory loss and impulsiveness. As examples, she said her daughter has brushed her teeth with shampoo when no toothpaste was available, and bit off ChapStick when she was thirsty.

"I was never angry," Gloria said, "but this is also something you can never forgive."

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--Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo: Marnie J. Lippincott Credit: Daily Pilot

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