A North County jury watched a horrific video of a deadly hit-and-run crash shown during opening statements in the murder trial of Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez.
Prosecutor Robert Bruce told the jury that Sanchez had at least five alcoholic drinks, plus beer, in the hours before that July 27, 2016, fatal collision where she hit a transient walking on the sidewalk of Mission Avenue in Oceanside.
Sanchez is charged with second-degree murder and other related felonies.
The impact threw 69-year-old Jack Tenhulzen through the windshield and severed one of his feet. Tenhulzen bled to death inside Sanchez’s car, which she abandoned on the street near her home.
In his opening statement, Sanchez’s attorney acknowledged that his client did drive drunk and that the defense also does not contest the hit-and-run allegation.
But attorney Herb Weston told jurors that fatigue, not alcohol, was responsible for the deadly crash.
“We think the evidence is going to show that she fell asleep (moments before hitting the victim), and that instead of turning left, the car went straight onto the sidewalk,” Weston explained. “And there happened to be somebody there who was walking, and that person was hit.”
Weston said the fact that fatigue, not alcohol allegedly caused the collision means that Sanchez can’t be found guilty of the murder charge.
But prosecutor Robert Bruce said alcohol was, in fact, the cause of the deadly crash.
Bruce told jurors that Sanchez had a blood alcohol level of approximately .22 percent at the time of the collision. That’s almost three times the legal limit of .08 percent.
The prosecutor also said Sanchez should have known she could have killed someone and made a reckless decision to drive anyway, even after a friend urged her not to drive after drinking.