DUI charges filed in death of Chester Co. bicyclist

February 19, 2013 3:28:14 PM PST
Police say she was drunk on booze and high on pot when she killed a woman on a bicycle last month. She had nothing to say for herself when she left district court Tuesday afternoon.

54-year-old Susan McClain of Downingtown was set free after her husband came up with 10-percent of $50,000 bail.

Only Action News was there as she turned herself in Tuesday morning to face multiple charges.

Four weeks ago, police say she ran off the road and killed 32-year-old Kirsten Higley of Exton.

It was just before 7:00 a.m., and Higley was riding her bicycle on Boot Road in West Goshen Township, on her way to work in West Chester.

"She was never not smiling, not Kirsten anyway. She was always happy," said Brian Aspinall of Coatesville.

Friends were shocked by the news of Kirsten's death. They say she was a unique individual who lit up their lives.

She's originally from Boston, but got her degree in computer animation at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

Friends say she loved to ride her bicycle.

"She was on her bike 24/7," said Aspinall. "She had her driver's license but she chose to ride a bicycle instead of the car."

Asked if friends were worried about her safety, Aspinall told Action News, "Yeah, we were at certain times, especially with weather conditions and stuff. We gave her a ride every now and then when the weather was poor."

Police say McClain stayed at the scene after she hit Kirsten. They say they smelled a strong odor of alcohol on McClain, and she had slurred speech.

They say a blood test later revealed she had almost twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system and that she had been smoking pot.

Kirsten's friends struggle to make sense of it.

"She's going to be missed. She's going to missed by a lot of people. It's sad. My thoughts go out to her family, her friends, to everybody," said Brian Aspinall.

Susan McClain is now free on bail, charged with multiple crimes, including homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter, and DUI, all of which could land her jail for a long time.