By Marjorie Nesin
---- — GLOUCESTER — A former Salem woman facing vehicular homicide and drunken driving charges after a crash that claimed the life of an Ipswich woman appeared in court yesterday to see her next pretrial hearing scheduled.
Rebecca Jacques’s court appointed attorney Kathryn Cox requested a further pretrial hearing yesterday, since the charges against Jacques might be bumped up to Superior Court. The judge assigned a next pretrial date of March 29.
The 52-year-old Gloucester resident was charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving after the vehicle she was driving struck another vehicle on Essex Avenue in December, killing 52-year-old Mary Lipman of Ipswich, a passenger in the other vehicle.
Jacques has been held at MCI-Framingham since her Dec. 16 arrest.
She initially faced charges of negligent driving, driving with a suspended license and marked lane violations. Later, police added a charge of vehicular homicide, after receiving a Dec. 19 crime lab report that indicated Jacques’ blood alcohol level at the time of the crash measured at 0.22.
The additional charge, filed at the beginning of February, boosted Jacques’s bail from $25,000 cash to $50,000.
Lipman was the front seat passenger in a Subaru driven by off-duty State Trooper James Cowhig. She was transported to Addison Gilbert Hospital to await a Medical Flight to another hospital, but was pronounced dead at Addison Gilbert two hours after the collision, according to a police report.
Police reported that the truck Jacques had been driving drifted onto the wrong side of the roadway. Cowhig, approaching from the opposite direction, swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but the truck struck the Subaru’s passenger side, police said.
A record of past convictions, including eight charges for driving with a revoked or suspended license, had been used in determining Jacques’ new bail. A 2004 charge against Jacques of driving with a suspended license, with a $500 fine attached, remains open in Salem District Court. Jacques had also faced two separate charges of possession of a class B controlled substance between 1990 and 2004.