Accused coroner's attorney says newly prescribed sleep aid affected her judgement

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Hancock County Coroner Tamara Vangundy’s attorney claims prescription medications contributed to her lack of judgment.

Vangundy is accused of showing up to a death investigation while intoxicated back in May. She faces a felony charge of official misconduct and two misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Fox59's cameras were rolling as Vangundy was put through a field sobriety test that night. Officials said an officer on the scene administered a portable breath test and Vangundy's tested at .16, twice Indiana's legal limit of .08.

Vangundy's attorney, Carl Brizzi, said she was perscribed the sleeping aid Ambien. Since it was her first time taking it, it affected her judgement after she drank a few glasses of wine.

"The first time she takes the medicine with a couple glasses of wine, which is really not uncommon if you talk to people, she gets a call that there is a body that the coroner needs to come out for so you gotta feel a little bad for the woman and the set of circumstances," said Brizzi.

Brizzi said he does not believe an official misconduct charge applies to her case and thinks the public should not rush to judgement in her up-coming re-election.

Vangundy has pleaded not guilty. She has is due back in court June 21.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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