Wrong-way driver believed on stolen "heavy narcotic"

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Police believe the Dacula woman who caused a wrong-way crash on Ga. Highway 316 last week was high on stolen propofol, a hypnotic sedative typically used during anesthesia.

Upon being released from the hospital, 37-year-old Beverly L. Wilkins will be charged in the Aug. 24 crash near Winder Highway that left five teens seriously injured. At least one of the teens, who has not been identified, remains in critical condition with a head injury.

A Gwinnett County police report released Thursday shed more light on the head-on crash allegedly caused when Wilkins cross into the eastbound lanes of Ga. Highway 316.

According to the report, after being transported to the Gwinnett Medical Center herself Wilkins told police she had "blacked out and didn't remember" the crash. Her speech was slow, but hospital employees said they had not given her any medication.

Shortly thereafter officers located Wilkins' purse, in turn finding a blue hair net filled with, according to the report, 12 vials of medication and several other items that would be used to start an IV. Two of the vials were empty.

Nurses reportedly identified the medication as propofol, a "heavy narcotic" typically used during anesthesia. The drug entered the public vocabulary after its central role in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, and again last year when Jackson's doctor was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for injecting the drug.

Confronted about the medication, Wilkins -- an employee of Gwinnett Anesthesia Services and not Gwinnett Medical Center, a hospital official said -- reportedly admitted to police that she had stolen it from the hospital.

"She stated she took it from the hospital," the report said, "and went to the gas station where she injected it prior to getting on (Ga. Highway) 316."

Hospital staff told police that Wilkins had an IV line in her foot when she was admitted.

As of Thursday evening Wilkins had not been booked into Gwinnett County jail. Gwinnett County police have said that, once released from the hospital, she will be formally charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and five counts of causing an accident with serious bodily injury.

Lawrenceville police are also looking into charges related to the propofol's theft from Gwinnett Medical Center, which is inside city limits.