Woman Says Alleged Drunk Driver Hit Her Car First

Second crash killed alpine man, father of two

An East County woman said an alleged drunk driver was so belligerent and scary that she called 9-1-1 when he collided with her car at an Alpine intersection last December.

Prosecutors say that suspect later struck and killed a bicyclist, and fled the scene.

The defendant, Travis Weber, was in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on a vehicular manslaughter charge that could send him to prison for at least 15 years.

The victim was Edward Costa, a 30 year-old construction worker and father of two young boys.  Costa's family helped catch the suspect two days after the accident, when he showed up at an Alpine bar while the Costa family was holding a memorial vigil.

The first witness at Wednesday's hearing was Darlene Blanchard. She said Weber rear-ended her Volkswagen sedan while she was stopped at the intersection of Alpine Boulevard and Tavern Road on December 2nd. Blanchard testified that Weber mocked her and swore at her when she asked him for his driver's license and insurance information. Blanchard said she called her husband, who told her to call 9-1-1 immediately.

"He (Weber) kept yelling at me and it was getting more angry and intense and I was just continuing to back away from his truck, getting further away and I did not feel safe," Blanchard testified.

Prosecutors say the suspect, who has a history of drunk driving convictions in at least two states, later struck Costa, and caused the fatal injuries. Costa's relatives were in court Wednesday, following the proceedings.

"To try to understand how a human being could brutally run over somebody and then leave them there dying on the side of the road and not pull over, leads me to believe that the person is either very drunk or very demented and evil," said the victim's cousin, Joseph Costa.

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