Capt. Aric Wheeler on Friday confirmed that 52-year-old Margaret Garcia, who admitted to drinking a glass of wine about four hours before the crash that killed 40-year-old local metalsmith Paul Bennett, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.13, well above the state’s legal limit for motorists of 0.08.
Wheeler said vehicular homicide charges are forthcoming. Garcia was not charged the night of the crash.
This from an article I wrote earlier this week which quotes an affidavit for a search warrant police filed in state District Court:
Garcia’s late-model Pontiac Torrant turned left from westbound St. Michael’s Drive in front of Bennett’s BMW motorcycle, which was traveling east on St. Michael’s Drive.
“[A] witness stated that he did not see the motorcycle skidding and did not hear the screeching of tires” when it hit the right side of Garcia’s SUV, the document said. That same witness told police he saw Garcia’s SUV come to a stop in the turn lane before pulling in front of Bennett.
Police believe both motorists had green lights, which would have given Bennett the right of way as Garcia would have been turning across oncoming lanes of traffic.
… AND …
“The driver of the Pontiac stated to officer J. Gonzales during a post crash assessment that she had a glass of wine with a meal before work around [3 p.m.],” the warrant states.
That would have been four hours before the time of the crash.
“Officer J. Gonzales stated that he could smell an odor of alcohol emitting from the breath of the driver as they spoke,” the document says. “[The officer] found that the driver of the Pontiac was lethargic in her actions and had probable cause for a warrant for blood to be taken from her.”
Police say it is probably impossible to tell whether Garcia’s lethargic demeanor was a result of the crash or any impairment. When paramedics arrived at the crash, Garcia was trapped in her SUV, which had rolled and come to a rest on the driver’s side.
Blood results for Bennett have not yet been released as part of his autopsy.
Here are two recent articles: