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Suspect in local crash that killed two teens wasn't allowed to drive

Woman accused in deadly crash was DUI offender

MORONGO VALLEY, Calif. - The woman arrested by California Highway Patrol officers on suspicion of drunk driving following a deadly crash in Morongo Valley Wednesday night shouldn't have been driving at all, officials from San Bernardino County court services confirmed to News Channel 3 Friday.

She was also previously convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence.

Court records confirm Nicole Rachel Packer, 33, had her license suspended following violations related to the DUI incident in 2012.

As a result of a DUI conviction and a 2015 conviction for driving on a license suspended for DUI, a judge issued a $5,000 warrant for Packer's arrest.

Packer was initially granted probation for the DUI conviction, but the terms of her plea bargain were not met, so the probation had been extended to August of 2019.

Nicole Packer also had a $5,000 warrant out for her arrest for violating the terms of her probation stemming from a drunk driving conviction.

Packer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in 2013 but the terms of her probation kept getting extended.

Two teenagers were killed in the collision on State Route 62 in Morongo Valley.  A 14-year-old boy who was in the back seat of a 2018 Prius, was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center from Desert Regional Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.  A 17-year-old girl who was also riding in the back seat of that car was pronounced dead early Thursday morning at Desert Regional Medical Center.  The children's father, Colin Peter Campbell, 49, a director from Los Angeles, was driving the car and was hospitalized with major injuries.  Their 49 year old mother, and Campbell's wife, Gail Deborah Lerner, also of Los Angeles, was hospitalized with moderate injuries.

A CHP report stated Packer was speeding when her Ford Focus and the Prius collided in front of a Circle K convenience store in Morongo Valley while the Prius was making a left turn.

Packer was not booked into jail for Wednesday's collision as she also suffered major injuries, but officials said she was arrested for "felony driving under the influence, causing injury."

A CHP collision report indicated everyone involved in the crash was wearing seat belts.

A Facebook profile for Gail Lerner of Los Angeles indicates she married Colin Campbell in 1997.  She has worked on the acclaimed ABC series "Black-ish," as well as the series "Ugly Betty" and "Will & Grace."  Black-ish credits Lerner as a longtime writer and executive producer.   Representatives for ABC and Black-ish declined to comment, and Lerner's agent and attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lerner was also a founding member of the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, which provides mentoring and residency programs for at-risk youth in the Los Angeles Area.

Melissa Denton, Executive Director of the Unusual Suspects, said Lerner and Campbell worked as teaching artists and volunteers for Unusual Suspects most recently.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and program participants," wrote Denton, "The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company is deeply saddened to hear about the tragic accident involving Gail Lerner and Colin Campbell and the devastating loss of their Children.  Pillars in the community, Gail and Colin have been tireless champions of our work, and we are grateful for their unwavering commitment.  We can't imagine how difficult this is for Gail & Colin and offer our deepest sympathies to them, their family and friends.  They are in our thoughts and prayers."  

Actress Reese Witherspoon's website Hello Sunshine profiled Gail Lerner for her work on Black-ish.

 


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