A driver accused of DUI visited a San Diego Padres game and two bars before causing a deadly crash in Torrey Highlands last week, prosecutors said.
Friends, family and co-workers of Anthony Rodriguez, 30, packed the courtroom Thursday as he pleaded not guilty to DUI causing death, gross vehicular manslaughter and having a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.08 causing injury — charges he faces in the July 22 collision.
That day, Rodriguez had been to the Padres game, a downtown bar and a bar in Pacific Beach before driving up to North County, according to Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.
She said Rodriguez had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal driving limit when he drove his Fiat 500 into a Chevrolet Nova heading the opposite direction on Carmel Valley Road near Camino del Sur. Enid Diane Mayer-Sheaf, the Nova’s 61-year-old driver, died at the scene.
“The statement [Rodriguez] provided to the officers was that he had one beer, one shot and one margarita several hours earlier,” said Bright, “and then he also placed blame over the crash on the victim, saying she had traveled in to his lanes of the roadway.”
Based on his weight and height, the prosecution believes Rodriguez had close to ten drinks in his system when he got behind the wheel.
Mayer-Sheaf was driving from the hospital where her mother-in-law had just died when she too was killed. According to Bright, her family was not in court because they were at her viewing.
Bright asked that Rodriguez be held on $600,000 bail. Defense attorney Jan Ronis argued for a considerably lower sum.
“I would submit to the court that $100,000 is certainly sufficient to ensure his return to this court based upon his long term ties to the community, his family support, his employment situation in San Diego, his absence of any prior criminal history and the fact that he has retained counsel and come to court today,” said Ronis.
Judge David Szumowski declined to raise Rodriguez’s bail, keeping it at the $100,000 he had already paid to go free.
But he left the defendant with a warning.
“Obviously the circumstances here are very tragic,” said Szumowski in court. “And there will come a day when you will not be standing free like you are today, Mr. Rodriguez, on the assumption you are guilty.”
Rodriquez was ordered to wear a bracelet that alerts authorities if he drinks. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison.