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Alleged drunken driver charged with murder, manslaughter

Jerzy Shedlock
Loren Holmes photo

A pickup rollover in East Anchorage that killed a 32-year-old woman earlier this year has resulted in a murder charge for the driver, a man who had a brief but busy history of driving under the influence over two years.

On July 12, 29-year-old Andre Clinton was reportedly driving eastbound on Commercial Drive when he lost control of his Chevy truck around a curve. The vehicle rolled multiple times, and Marcia Mausali and Clinton were ejected.

Those two plus another passenger were taken to Alaska Regional Hospital, where Mausali was pronounced dead. The woman’s death was one of   four DUI-related fatalities   within two months and prompted the   Anchorage Police Department to ramp up drunken-driving enforcement   with the help of citizen volunteers. The night following the department’s announcement, another DUI death added to the year’s rising toll.

Now, Clinton faces three felony charges, including second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault. According to court documents filed at the Anchorage courthouse on Wednesday, no charges for the fatal wreck were filed prior to the grand jury indictment, and police have not yet arrested Clinton.

The state has issued an arrest warrant for Clinton. The court went ahead and set a bail amount totaling $100,000.

Clinton faces a handful of misdemeanor charges, as well, which include a DUI, driving with a revoked license and violating previous conditions of release.

Under the indictment’s first count, the second-degree murder charge, a prosecutor wrote, “Andre Pernell Clinton knowingly engaged in conduct that resulted in the death of Marcia Mausali under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Five shots of Patron tequila

Court documents offer new details about the night Mausali’s life was cut short. The police investigations shed light on a long night of barhopping and shots of Patron, an expensive brand of tequila.

Diana Mausali, the victim's sister according to court documents, survived the crash. She told police Clinton picked the two girls up at a house where they’d been drinking. The group headed to downtown Anchorage and its tightly-packed selection of bars -- and drank some more.

Diana  told police Clinton drank three shots of Patron at the Gaslight Lounge on Fourth Avenue. A security guard at the bar reportedly remembered Clinton entering the bar shortly after midnight on the night of the crash. The guard said Clinton rode the bar’s mechanical bull, but started an argument with staff and was kicked out.

Clinton crossed the street and entered the now-defunct Anchor Pub. Sometime later, he drank two more shots of the same tequila brand at Club Elixir, Diana told police officers.

The three eventually left Elixir, piling into the truck with Clinton at the wheel. According to Diana’s account, she sat in the passenger seat wearing a seatbelt. Marcia was in the rear middle seat and wasn't buckled in.

Commercial Drive is as far as the group made it. Clinton reportedly lost control of the Chevy, causing the large pickup to fishtail and flip. When officers arrived at the crash, they found “a Chevrolet Avalanche heavily damaged with a large debris field of tires, car parts, money and alcohol bottles.”

Investigators found that Clinton was traveling 26 miles over the speed limit.

Clinton’s blood was drawn later that morning at Alaska Regional. A lab test indicated his blood level was .17, a little more than double the legal limit.

History of drunken driving

The death caught the attention of Anchorage residents, partly due to timing -- it occurred only two weeks after another fatal crash in which Lane Douglas Wyatt, a Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson airman, allegedly killed a 20-year-old Anchorage woman after running a red light. Wyatt admitted to responding officers that he drank five shots of liquor and three beers at a local bar, according to court documents.

But Clinton had an initial run-in with the law long before this year's rash of drunken wrecks.

In April 2011, police stopped Clinton around 1 a.m. on Fifth Avenue after he was observed crossing lanes and weaving on the road. Police arrested Clinton for DUI and drove him to the Anchorage jail.

Once at the jail, an officer removed Clinton from the patrol car’s backseat. He spotted a small bag of white powder, which later tested positive for cocaine, sitting on the seat. A handcuffed Clinton slipped out of the officer’s grasp and tried to grab the bag with his mouth. Officers ended up restraining Clinton, however. Later that year, Clinton was convicted of drunk driving and a drug charge.

Then, earlier this year on March 14, police witnessed Clinton run a flashing red light on Northern Lights Boulevard. He was cited for driving without proof of insurance. According to court documents, police warned Clinton that his driver’s license was suspended for DUI.

The next day, a driver reported a stuck Jeep Liberty in East Anchorage. Police arrived and found Clinton standing outside the car, who claimed his girlfriend owned the SUV, and that he’d received an anonymous call saying the Jeep was stuck, though he couldn’t articulate how he got there. Police found the Jeep’s keys in his pocket, according to court documents. He was charged with another DUI but prosecutors dropped the case.

In April, the state filed a charge against Clinton for failing to take a court-mandated alcohol class.

But the new second-degree murder charge comes with serious penalties, as it’s an unclassified felony. Clinton faces five to 99 years in prison for that charge alone.

Contact Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy(at)alaskadispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter @jerzyms.