HAVERHILL (CBS) — A Haverhill woman accused of driving drunk when she struck and killed a beloved foster mother picking up doughnuts for her church was ordered held on $50,000 bail Monday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

Thirty-seven-year-old Lisa Leavitt of Haverhill was arraigned in Haverhill District Court on negligent driving and motor vehicle homicide while intoxicated charges.

Police say she crashed her car into 63-year-old Karen LaPierre at about 5:20 a.m. Sunday in front of a bakery as LaPierre loaded doughnuts into her car for church later that morning.

Prosecutors said Leavitt‘s blood-alcohol reading was more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash.

“Her statement to the police at that point was ‘I killed someone, shut the f— up, this is going to change MY whole life.’“ prosecutor John DePaulo told the court.

LaPierre was with her husband Bill at the time of the accident. She died in his arms.

“I told her I loved her, and she said ‘I love you’ and she stopped breathing,” he told WBZ-TV Monday.

The couple had been married 37 years.

Karen LaPierre was known around town for her giving nature. She helped run the food pantry at the Sacred Heart Church, where they prepared 300 meals over the weekend for the needy.

Despite his sudden loss, Bill LaPierre said he forgives Leavitt and is at peace.

“I hope she gets the help she needs now, because look what she’s done to her family,” he said.

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports

Leavitt does not have a prior criminal record and she has been taking anxiety medication, her attorney said.

If she makes bail and is released, Leavitt must wear an electronic monitor.

Comments (30)
  1. DoverDavid says:

    These stories are always so sad. Innocent people killed, families ruined, yet most of those behind the wheel never receive the punishment they deserve. When, oh when are things in Mass going to change.

    1. Willow says:

      My guess is NEVER! For the very reason you stated. Mass does not have a stiff enough penalty for drunk drivers. Look how often in the news we hear of someone who has been arrested for drunk driving multiple times, and some have a suspended license. It doesn’t stop them from drinking and driving anyway. Jail time is the only punishment that will keep them out from behind the wheel of a car.

    2. Austin Lake Girl says:

      When are DWI rules going to change everywhere! Austin courts are bad! I see people all the time get charges lawyer up and the tie the courts up with delay trail and never pay for their stupid decision to drink and get behind the wheel!

  2. Corby says:

    Our justice system is to lenient on drunk drivers. Many past drunk driving tragedies like this one never go to trial. They are done through mediation with lawyers & DA’s. The accused drunk driver ends up with maybe three or four years in prison, having to wear an ankle bracelet after being paroled and loss of license for years. What a very small price to pay for taking the life of a human being. As a 37 year old, she should be educating teens never to drive drunk. In a way she is educating them with the prison sentence she will soon receive. I only hope the legal system finally sends a message that drunk driving will not be tolerated by enforcing much stronger prison sentences.

  3. Picco says:

    What the heck was she doing DRUNK at 5:20 Am….
    The book should be thrown at her. and license taken away from her…I wonder how may DUI’s she has already had…..

    1. Jumbo says:

      Read the story and you will see that this woman has no criminal history; sometimes people make mistakes – have you never made a mistake or an error in judgment?

      1. JoMama says:

        making a mistake, and making a mistake that costs someone their life is COMPLETELY different, Jumbo. f this lady. drunk uncivilized dbag.

      2. Life is Good says:

        What have you just woke up from a long sleep? Come on, she has probably been driving drunk right along! And oops!This time something tragic happened to get caught! My friends daughter all the time drinking and driving and oops! Ran a stop sign! Fender bender! (lucky no one hurt!) First offense! Really just First time caught!!
        No cares..Lawyer got her out! And guess what doesn’t do classes doesn’t do anything. Lost her job… but just sit’s around and drink again! What do they learn?
        hmmmm,,,just for them to laugh at everyone that they got away with it!
        The courts are full and they continue each case instead of hearing them..the person leaves and picks up their next drink! God Bless!

  4. Mikey Cyrus says:

    We need to not only increase the penalties, but also increase the chances of getting caught. Allow police to do random pull-overs for quick breath tests. If you’re clean you continue on your way in 30 seconds. People dont think about the penalties if they think they won’t get caught.

    1. Jay says:

      I find it incredibly sad you are advocating even more violations of our civil rights. The government and police are already over stepping their bounds enough.

      1. Mikey Cyrus says:

        I find it sad that some people have more consideration for the rights of criminals than the safety of the innocent public. If you are not driving drunk you should have no problem with being pulled over briefly to take a breath test. I lived overseas where this was done correctly and the roads are much much safer. if you saw it in practice I guarantee you would agree with me. Knowing you could get stopped randomly on any day at any time absolutely has more of an effect than simply stricter penalties.

        I will admit though that the police there stuck to the specific task; blow into this, if its under 0.8 you’re off again in no time at all, they wouldnt even ask for registration or license or anything else. The police here would probably turn it into a long drawn out ordeal, taking the opportunity to harass obviously sober/innocent people, much like the TSA does to my 3 yr old at the airport.

      2. Mikey Cyrus says:

        I find it sad that some people consider the rights of criminals over protecting the innocent public. If you are not driving drunk then you should have no problem being asked to take a breathalyzer. I gladly would if it helps keep me and my loved ones safer.

      3. Sandra says:

        Hey Jay,
        If you don’t agree with policing these types of matters….you must be ok with pedafiles working in schools, rapist’s lurking innocent women, murderers being able to carry guns, etc. Overstepping nah….yes there are many cops who abuse their role to society, but get a grip. Why not go move to say Russia, or Africa or the Middle East if you feel this country is violating everyone???? This poor woman wouldn’t be dead today if Ms. Leavitt was not able to get in her car X2 over the legal limit and slam her car into the back of the poor lady. Crushing her…what a sad way to die especiall during the holidays….

    2. petem says:

      Let’s start with you. also give us all your personal records and access to your doctors and financials…
      If you want to attack the problem, attack the problem not the constitution.

  5. Joey Summ says:

    Wow that is jsut so sad. Drinking and driving is jsut not worth it at all dude.


  6. The Battman says:

    The statement made by her lawyer speaks volumes as well. If she was indeed taking anxiety medication then there was absolutely no excusability for her adding alcohol to that. Way past time to get very tough on people who mix drinking with driving and more so who mix drinking with meds that do not react so well with booze.

  7. emom says:

    Bars want happy hour, grocery stores want to sell alcohol, gas stations sell beer, little variety stores feel the need to sell it, and now Liquor stores want to be open day after Christmas. What will be next Drug stores stocking their shelves with 6 packs, Donut shops selling nip bottles for coffee, the ultimate will be department stores creating wine cellars.
    Where does it end. When is enough , enough. Why do we prefer to be able to purchase booze at every moment of the day. When will establishments realize that we need to cut them off before they leave. When will folks wake up about allowing people to drive drunk. When will people stop a person from driving drunk.
    Its the holidays , parties are everywhere, people hopping from party to party , drinking and then driving.. When will folks wake up and see whats right in front of them. when will they see past the case lots of trouble.
    My heart goes out to the family ,she did not deserve this. For the person that felt the need to drink to oblivion and then drive. I hope they throw the book at her.
    Alcohol should be limited at establishments and if they can not pass a breathalyzer test then they should not be able to drive. Something needs to be done.

  8. Denise says:

    Well Jay – atleast you have a life that can still be violated! I understand your stance about the government and law enforcement. But this story isn’t about that – it’s about a lady (who from the sounds of it was very generous to a fault) and someone that didn’t know when enough was enough! the only bright side of this – if there is one – is she didn’t kill more people!

  9. sosad&sorry says:

    For the record, Lisa is a wonderful loving person. she has a clean crimnal record and driving record. There are circumstances that the public is not aware of and the news papers sensationalize everything by adding “facts” that they make up if they don’t think the truth will sell enough papers. Nothing will change the fact that a wonderful woman was killed but find out the true facts before making snap judgements about Lisa, the person, who has a loving family who is also devastated by this tragedy. its so easy to pass judgement when it’s not you on the hot seat. I pray you never are.

    1. response says:

      There are no circumstances that will help the LaPierre family.
      There is no excuse for what this woman did.
      50K bail is just not enough. She took someone’s life.
      She should be in jail for the next 50 years.

  10. Justin says:

    This story is tragic. God bless all involved. To those willing to have “random breath tests” STOP. I am SICK of people that say more laws will fix the problem. How about instead of punishing drunk driving, we eliminate it altogether as a crime, but guarantee the death penalty if you kill someone, drunk or sober, negligently while operating a vehicle.

    1. Mikey Cyrus says:

      You can’t be serious. You can’t honestly believe the death penalty would ever be applied. And would it be better to let someone kill another and then take their life too, than to catch them before lives are ruined?

      I’ve seen random breath tests in practice in other (free) coutries and it has a huge effect on cutting down the drunk driving rate. Seriously, if you saw it too, you would absolutley agree. The key though is that those officers stuck to the specific task; blow into this and if you’re not drunk you are on your way in no time at all. They wouldnt even ask for license and registration or anything. You would literally be driving again in less than a minute. To argue against myself, I could totally see police here making it a long drawn out ordeal and an opportunity to harrass innocent sober people. It would need to be done swiftly with the focus on finding impaired drivers only, which not only is less intrusive to the innocent, but allows you to check more drivers. For example, they would have road stops (like the ones we already see here) but instead of blocking a highway for an entire night and stopping every single car and causign a huge delay, they would set up for only an hour or so, on smaller roads, and sometimes they wouldnt even stop every car.

      I’m totally not someone that is in favor of increased laws for everything but knowing you could get stopped randomly at any time of day, any day of the week, really stops people from taking a chance. The problem here is that people think as long as they drive speed limit and stay between the lines then they wont get caught. They think about their chances of getting caught way before they think about what the penalty would be.

  11. SandyBeach says:

    Lisa a wonderful loving person??? She sounds more like a self-centered BITC!!! Driving drunk @ 5:20AM while popping pills. Lisa is sorry alright, sorry she got caught this time. Shut the “F” up, this going to change my whole life.”
    What a loser! Hope they throw the book at her. She KILLED a wonderful person.

  12. Mikey Cyrus says:

    I understand the initial resistance to suggesting random breath tests. But if you saw how they are used as I saw in another (free) country and how they deterred drunk driving I would bet you’d feel differently. The officers there stuck to the task of only looking for drunk drivers. Wouldnt even ask for license or registration or anything else. If you were clean you would be on your way literally in less than a minute. Quick and simple has the benefit of being less introsive to the innocent and increasing the number of drivers that are checked. I saw road blocks be set up or less than an hour (during weekday mornings even) and they may not even stop every car that went by, far less harm to traffic flow than the drawn out road blocks we see here.

    Now if you want to say that police here would abuse it and harass innocent people, I would have a harder time arguing with that. We already have road blocks sometimes, why not speed them up, for the benefit of everyoen involved? Get rid of the field sobriety test and go right to the breath test. The field sobriety test is just a waste of time, the cops are just building evidence against you and will ask for a breath test after anyways. BTW you do have the right to refuse the field sobriety tests.

    The problem here is that people feel if they just drive speed limit and stay between the lines they won’t get caught, they wont even think about what the penalty would be. Penalties are all after the fact too. Increasing the chances of getting caught will make people think about it more. And deterring the crime in the first place can help make a mistake from becoming tragic.

    Sorry for the long rant here. Just want to explain how I saw these used overseas, how effective they were, and far less intrusive than you would think. The BAC and penalties are basically same as here. But knowing you could get stopped at any moment, you can’t take a chance at all.

  13. santaclaus says:

    SandyBiatch, you must have been there and heard Lisa’s statements to the police and know all the context of them since you can pass judgement with such confidence. And you also must have NEVER in your LIFE driven after having too much to drink, even a little too much. No one is denying that she KILLED a wonderful person. But I have known Lisa since we were kids and there are additional circumstances here that will come out when she goes to trial. People make bad decisions and tragically her poor judgement cost someone their life. She can’t bring the woman back. But Lisa can do her best to redeem herself and make peace with the victims family which I am SURE she will. She has a conscience and she is not a loser. Haven’t you learned not to believe everything you read/hear in the news? I hope you nor your children or family members ever make a bad judgment call that in an instant, changes peoples lives for the worst…lest you be judged, made out to be a monster and they throw the book at you. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  14. Mikey Cyrus says:

    That makes no sense at all

  15. Mikey Cyrus says:

    Of course my reply was put in the wrong spot so now I make no sense at all. But this probably wont show up and people will wonder what that post is all about. And now the posts that I tried to upload yesterday but didnt show up, are finally showing up? Looks like I’m just repeating myself over and over. Sorry for the clutter everyone. Had about enough of this site, why do I keep bothering?

  16. Church Lady says:

    While you’re thumbing through the Bible, check out “Thou Shall Not Kill”.
    Next we’ll hear from her it wasn’t my fault. Whose fault was it?
    Could it be SATIN?

  17. Lori says:

    Church Lady… I think in this tragedy it is kind of you to try & inject a bit of humor (dana carvey SNL character of church lady).
    To anyone… This tragedy is absolutely this womans fault. She was drinking & driving while on prescribed medication; not a good combination. Someone posted that Lisa is a good person. While I do not know if that is true I will not denegrate her. What I will say is that, nice person or not, she DID commit this crime & she definately deserves to be punished accordingly. I also do not think it is a good idea to have big brother in our life more then we already do. I agree that enough is enough with these repeated drunk drivers or drunk drivers that seriously maim (or kill) someone (1st or not) need a more severe punishment. I also think enough is enough with the interference from Big Brother.

  18. Thoughts says:

    I think you all should keep your comments to yourself and respect the family members. No one wants to come on here and read this. What has to be done will be done, how about a ltitle respect.

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