A woman charged with DWI in a wreck in which her passenger suffered fatal personal injuries in early January is now faced with a charge of second-degree murder, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.


Initially, 28-year-old Hendersonville resident Debra Leigh Fisher-Villafranco was charged with DWI on January 19 after a single-vehicle crash on Hebron Road. Her passenger, 36-year-old Hendersonville resident Tamara Allen, was pronounced dead at the scene.


Court records show the offense to have been Fisher-Villafranco’s third in Henderson County. She was convicted on June 2 of two DWI charges from December 3, 2009 and December 4, 2009, according to N.C. Department of Corrections records. She was sentenced to 36 months’ probation with a suspended sentence.


Also in connection to the January 19 crash, Fisher-Villafranco was charged with driving on a revoked license. She is being held in lieu of $250,000 secured bond at the Henderson County Detention Center.


Trooper B.C. Watts said that when the crash occurred, Fisher-Villafranco was driving at an estimated 55 mph when she lost control of the vehicle on black ice, ran into an embankment, and hit a rock. The vehicle overturned, causing Allen to be ejected.


The NCHP said that upon searching the vehicle, police found two liquor store receipts dated January 19 at 5:50 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The second was approximately 30 minutes before the crash.


The murder warrant was served on January 26.

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