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OK County DA Considers Murder Charge For Accused Drunk Driver

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Court records show that the suspect, 20-year-old Chandler Kardaras, had been in trouble for driving under the influence of alcohol in the past. Court records show that the suspect, 20-year-old Chandler Kardaras, had been in trouble for driving under the influence of alcohol in the past.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater tells News 9 his team is considering a second degree murder charge for an accused drunk driver. Deputies say the suspect killed a beloved University of Central Oklahoma adjunct professor in late August.

Court records show that the suspect, 20-year-old Chandler Kardaras, had been in trouble for driving under the influence of alcohol in the past. It's been nearly four months since deputies say Kardaras killed Debra Reed when Kardaras' car crossed the center of Portland Avenue and crashed head-on into Reed's car near Danforth Road. Reed died instantly in a mess of twisted metal.

"She was my mom, and she was the only parent all five of us had," Reed's daughter Melanie Berry said with tears in her eyes.

Months later, the pain is still fresh for Berry, who talked to News 9 from the very spot where her mom was killed. Reed's family members say they are tired of waiting for charges to be filed. Prater says charges are coming very soon. A new state law may allow Prater to "throw the book" at Kardaras.

"I want to know what's going to happen," Berry said. "I just can't even get any answers."

Kardaras is being treated for crash-related injuries and still has not been arrested for Reed's death. In mid-November, deputies handed their investigation to prosecutors. On Monday, Prater told News 9 the holdup in filing charges is for a very good reason. Given Kardaras' previous DUI, instead of manslaughter, prosecutors are working to make sure they can charge her with second degree murder.

A state law concerning previous violations should allow Prater to file the more serious charge … one that could more than double Kardaras' time behind bars. If convicted of second degree murder, Kardaras would face 10 years to life in prison.

"I don't know that I want this girl in prison for life," said Berry. "I hope that someday that she can be a mom and know that joy that my mom had."

Berry says she wants Kardaras to know who her mom was -- a teacher with a strong passion for theatre, hair and makeup. Already, more than $50,000 has been donated to establish a scholarship for UCO students in Debra Reed's name.

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