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Prosecutor: Drunken driver who injured four 'was on a homicide mission'

A judge said Monday that a mentally ill woman whose auto crashed into another vehicle in Niagara Falls last year, seriously injuring four people, "acts like an animal" when she's under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. sentenced Diana M. Flinn, 40, to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison for the hit-and-run wreck at LaSalle Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard. It was the maximum he could have imposed for the crime to which Flinn admitted.

Her blood alcohol content was measured at .17 percent, more than twice the legal threshold for intoxication, and she also was under the influence of cocaine and marijuana when she ran a red light and T-boned another auto April 23, 2016.

"I have a lengthy and documented mental health history," Flinn said.

Diana M. Flinn

Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Dominic Saraceno, said Flinn has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.

"She scares me," Assistant District Attorney Theodore A. Brenner said. "She said she was on a suicide mission. ... I think she was on a homicide mission."

"I was not trying to hurt anyone," Flinn said. "Had I been on proper psychiatric meds during these incidents, they probably never would have happened."

Flinn pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular assault and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated for the crash. She also admitted to felony aggravated unlicensed operation in connection with a July 1 chase in Lewiston, which reached speeds of 95 mph. Flinn's vehicle rammed a town police car twice, officers said.

In both incidents, police said Flinn was driving vehicles she had just stolen after the owners left them running while unattended. The July 1 incident was Flinn's eighth DWI arrest. She also has served state prison time for a 2006 assault conviction, after which she violated probation and parole.

Debbie A. Guthrie, the driver of the car Flinn struck last April, said she still needs repairs to her left wrist, and her boyfriend is suffering from post-concussion syndrome. One of the two children hurt in the crash still has back pain, Guthrie said.

"This isn't her first rodeo. I think she should get the maximum," Guthrie told Kloch.

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