A Wilkinsburg woman was driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana last year when she lost control of her SUV in Churchill and crashed, killing one of three passengers, according to charges filed Friday.

Tiffany L. Reese, 45, surrendered Monday morning to Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies at the Pittsburgh Municipal Courts Building, sheriff’s spokesman Mike Manko said. She was accompanied by her attorney.

Reese was denied bail at her arraignment and sent to the Allegheny County Jail.

The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. April 30, 2023 as Reese headed south on Beulah Road near Kingsdale Drive in Churchill.

According to a criminal complaint by Allegheny County Police, Reese was driving fast on Beulah Road in bad weather when she lost control of the SUV before Kingsdale Drive and hit a wooden utility pole, causing the SUV to roll over.

The SUV was traveling 60 mph seconds before the crash, a review of its event data recorder/airbag control module found, the complaint said.

The front-seat passenger, Charmaine Sewell, 62, of Wilkinsburg was partially ejected and pronounced dead at the scene, the complaint states.

Two passengers in the back seat suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. Reese was taken to Forbes Regional Hospital.

At the hospital, Reese told detectives that she had several drinks, including three shots of vodka and one beer, at Sewell’s home, the complaint states. Reese said she was taking the back-seat passengers home.

Reese said there was an argument going on in the back of the vehicle and Sewell grabbed Reese’s arm, causing her to lose control, the complaint states.

Both back-seat passengers told detectives that all four had been drinking before the crash, according to the complaint. They said Reese was driving too fast and lost control on a bend, the complaint states.

A county crime lab report listed Reese’s blood alcohol level as 0.16%, twice the legal limit to drive.

Her blood also tested positive for cannabinoids, or chemicals found in marijuana, the complaint states. Reese was carrying a small amount of suspected marijuana when she arrived at the hospital, and it was collected as evidence, the complaint states.

Defense attorney Joseph Hudak, who represents Reese, said his client’s aunt called her to pick her up that morning.

“The aunt grabbed the wheel and caused the crash,” Hudak said Monday. “[Reese] says she’s not at fault.”

Reese has never had a Pennsylvania driver’s license, according to the complaint, though police did not say whether she was licensed in another state.

While Reese owns the SUV she was driving, its registration and inspections expired in 2022.

Reese faces charges including homicide by vehicle, accidents involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance and summary traffic offenses.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 31.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a TribLive reporter covering news in New Kensington, Arnold and Plum. A Pittsburgh native and graduate of Penn State University's Schreyer Honors College, Brian has been with the Trib since December 2000. He can be reached at brittmeyer@triblive.com.