A 19-year-old driver will stand trial for his alleged role in a February crash that killed a father and his 14-year old son as they were leaving baseball practice at Poway High School.
Donald Farmer, 19, will stand trial on charges that include two counts of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.
The crash happened on Feb. 12 around 7:15 p.m. as Steve Pirolli, 54, and his son Stephen Jr. were turning out of the school parking lot onto northbound Espola Road. Pirolli's rental car -- his normal vehicle was being repaired -- was broadsided on the passenger side, according to investigators.
Pirolli was killed on impact and his son later died at Rady Children’s hospital.
At Farmer's preliminary hearing Monday, a San Diego County Sheriff's Department traffic investigator testified Farmer was driving 90 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of impact.
The first investigator to arrive on the scene testified Farmer admitted to taking drugs the morning of the accident.
“He had told me that he had smoked a bowl of marijuana at approximately at 10 or 11 o’clock that morning. He had also said he had taken a Xanax pill in the morning,” said Deputy Ryan Christy.
Farmer also did not have a driver’s license, according to the investigator. A permit was found in his 2005 Mercedes, but in order to be valid, a 25-year old licensed driver would have had to be in the car.
Christy testified a witness told him she saw Farmer throw items from his trunk into a bush right after the crash. Later, 10 to 15 E-cigarette vials with THC were found in the area.
A second SDSO investigator used information from the event data recorder in Pirolli's rental car, which recorded about five seconds of data prior to impact.
Based on data from the rental, Farmer’s vehicle was driving 90 mph, the investigator testified.
The investigator also built models of the crash and replayed putting Farmer's car at different speeds.
“When I plugged it in with 45 miles an hour, at 60 miles an hour, the collision would not have occurred. It would not have occurred,” Deputy Nathaniel Bier said.
About two dozen family and friends of the victim were in court, at times sobbing during testimony.
Farmer’s mother and father were also in court.
Judge Theodore M. Weathers ordered Farmer, who’s been free on bond and enrolled in a drug rehab program, to be back in court for trial that will start March 7.
If convicted on all counts, Farmer is facing six to 13 years in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans.