OCEAN SPRINGS -- Jackson County sheriff's deputies are searching for a Biloxi woman indicted on a felony charge of leaving the scene of accident that left an Ocean Springs' woman injured and her face mutilated, records show.
A warrant was issued for Lisa Belen Sanchez's arrest after she failed to show up for a court appearance in Jackson County Circuit Court.
According to court records, Sanchez, 45, was driving a white Ford Explorer when it struck a now 27-year-old Ocean Springs woman as she crossed Government Street in front of Mezo's Juke Joint. The incident happened was reported at 1:37 a.m. on Dec. 16, 2012.
When police got the scene, records show, they found the victim lying on her stomach on the side of the road. She was unable to move and had suffered severe trauma to her face along with other injuries. She was hospitalized and underwent surgery.
Sanchez was identified as a suspect shortly after a witness told police she had seen a white SUV strike the victim and never stop, continuing eastbound on Government Street. The witness described the SUV and told authorities it had front end damage from the impact.
At the scene, police found a broken headlight and a fog light assembly that had fallen off the vehicle.
While paramedics rushed the victim to Ocean Springs Hospital for treatment, city police officers spotted Sanchez headed east on U.S. 90 in a white SUV with front end damage.
When police stopped her, the report says, she told investigating officers she had just left Mezo's Juke Joint, where she had "drank a few." She also told authorities she had taken the prescription antidepressant, Zoloft, and the prescription, Adderrall, a stimulant used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
'Just hit a limb'
When Sanchez got out of her vehicle after the stop, reports says, she acted "surprised" when a police officer showed her the damage to her vehicle.
Sanchez was taken into custody on a charge of misdemeanor DUI.
Sanchez later told police she never saw anyone in the road and thought she had "just hit a limb."
While Sanchez was in custody, police noted in their reports she fell asleep and had to be placed in a chair for her own safety.
Another police officer said he asked another officer to bring a chair in for Sanchez to sit in after he noticed she was "having a very hard time staying awake" and was "having a hard time sitting up straight." The police officer said in the report that he was "worried Ms. Sanchez was going to fall off the bench and cause injury to herself."
Ocean Springs police had Sanchez's blood drawn to determine if she was impaired.
Sanchez pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI in Ocean Springs Municipal Court on Feb. 27, 2013, meaning she did not admit guilt but agreed there was evidence to convict her.
Municipal Judge Matthew Mestayer found Sanchez guilty. He fined her $524.50 and ordered her to pay $283.50 in court costs. He also sentenced her to two days in jail, but suspended the jail time and placed her on six months probation along with a six-month suspension from driving privileges.
On March 25, 2013, Sanchez appealed the DUI conviction in Jackson County Court.
The case was continued three times before it was set to go on March 11. Sanchez never showed up, according to court records, and County Court Judge T. Larry Wilson upheld the lower court's ruling in the DUI case.
A month later, a Jackson County grand jury indicted Sanchez on the felony charge.
Sanchez was scheduled for an arraignment on the felony charge in Jackson County Circuit Court in August, but she never showed.
Circuit Judge Robert Krebs then issued a warrant for her arrest for failure to appear.
Since then, Sanchez's attorney. W.F. Fred Hornsby, filed a motion waiving Sanchez's arraignment on the felony charge and entering a plea of not guilty on her behalf.
The Sun Herald reached out to Hornsby for a comment on behalf of Sanchez.
"I cannot comment at this time," Hornsby said in an email.
Sanchez is currently listed as one of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department's most-wanted suspects.
To report information, call the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 769-3063 or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.