‘She could not have avoided the accident:’ attorney defends DUI manslaughter suspect

Defense of Suzanna Norris argues victim walked in front of car

COCOA, Fla. – The attorney for a DUI manslaughter suspect argues any driver, drinking or not, would have hit the pedestrian Suzanna Norris is charged with killing.

Norris, 49, was arrested and bonded out of jail six months after Cocoa police said she was drunk when her car hit Passion Lucas.

Defense attorney Alan Landman mentioned the crash happened in the middle of the night in an area under construction with poor lighting.

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‘’Notwithstanding any alcohol consumption by Ms. Norris, given the fact that the decedent basically came out of nowhere in front of her vehicle, she could not have avoided the accident under any circumstances,’’ Landman said.

The Lucas family attorney responded that the 37-year-old mother was not walking in front of Norris’ car on Industry Road at the time of the crash in June.

‘’There’s been a narrative put out there that either Passion Lucas stepped out in front of the car voluntarily, like she was trying to do herself harm, or maybe intoxicated. There’s no evidence of that, whatsoever,’’ attorney Jessica Travis said.

Cocoa police said Norris, known for her Port St. John horse ranch - Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds - admitted she was drinking.

Norris’ lawyer argued that she’s at most guilty of a DUI, but she’s not criminally responsible for what happened to Lucas.

‘’My client did not cause or contribute to the death,’’ Landman said. ‘’It was just a situation where a pedestrian should not have been where the decedent was,’’ the defense attorney argued.

The victim’s sister, Makita Lucas, responded by saying Norris was drunk.

‘’If you’re driving double the alcohol limit, you’re completely inebriated at that point,’’ Lucas said. ‘’Her lawyer is very well-connected and he’s using every avenue he can to get her away from this.’’

Norris is out of jail on a $45,000 bond and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.