By Charlotte Huffman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly three years after a fatal crash claimed the life of a Moorestown woman, the victim’s family believes justice is still within reach.

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In a recent decision, the New Jersey Appellate Court reversed the trial court’s ruling to suppress drug evidence in the aggravated manslaughter case against a Pemberton Township woman.

On February 28, 2012 police say Shannon Sidorek was high on drugs and driving when she crossed the center line of the Pemberton Bypass and slammed head on into another vehicle.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Smith, 81, of Moorestown died at the scene.

An eyewitness to the crash told police and Eyewitness News that Sidorek was swerving in and out of her lane for miles, narrowly missing oncoming cars before hitting Smith’s car.

Blood tests showed Sidorek was high on prescription painkillers.

Her driving record includes eight license suspensions and multiple violations for speeding and careless driving.

Sidorek was charged with aggravated manslaughter, a first degree crime which carries a punishment in New Jersey of between ten and thirty years in prison.

Sidorek has pled “not guilty.”

In January, Burlington County Judge Terrence R. Cook threw out any evidence of drug use saying that the police officer investigating the crash violated Sidorek’s constitutional rights.

After the crash, Sidorek was in and out of consciousness and the officer went into Sidorek’s purse for her driver’s license to try to identify her.

That’s when he saw pill bottles and requested a blood test.

In his written opinion, Judge Cook called the drug evidence “fruits of the poisonous tree” and said the officer needed a search warrant to look in Sidorek’s purse.

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The decision paved the way for the charges to be dropped and for Sidorek to walk free.

The prosecution called Judge Cook’s decision an “erroneous interpretation of existing precedent” and appealed it on the grounds that the officer acted appropriately.

“We’re hopeful and we’ll see what happens,” said the victim’s son, Steve Smith Jr. after oral arguments were heard by the state appellate court on September 16th.

On October 7, 2014, just three weeks after hearing the case, the New Jersey Appellate Division sided with the prosecution and returned its decision to reverse the lower court’s ruling.

The three appellate court judges agreed unanimously that the way the police officer acted was “entirely reasonable” and a search warrant was not needed.

The driver, Shannon Sidorek told Eyewitness News she had “no comment.”

“I obviously talked to my dad and let him know and we both breathed a sigh of relief that the world wasn’t as crazy as it had been made out,” said Steve Smith Jr. after learning of the decision.

“This I think will vindicate that you can’t do irresponsible things that end in a tragedy for somebody and just pass it off,” said Steve Smith Sr. who was married to Betsy for more than 58 years.

In a statement regarding the appellate court’s opinion, Burlington County prosecutor, Robert D. Bernardi said “This ruling paves the way to allow the state to proceed with the prosecution of Ms. Sidorek on the aggravated manslaughter charges based on her impaired driving.”

The Smith family has been present at every court hearing since the February 2012 accident is hoping justice will be served soon.

The public defender representing Sidorek has filed a motion to appeal the appellate court’s decision to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Judge Cook scheduled a status conference for January 6th, 2015.

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