The driver of a BMW that collided head-on with another vehicle on the Jamaicaway in 2014, killing two women inside, acknowledged drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel but didn’t exhibit signs of intoxication during an interview with police, a state trooper testified Thursday.
Jennifer Guzman, 28, said she consumed three or four Ciroc vodkas and a fruit drink of coconut and pineapple juices prior to the 2:50 a.m. crash on Oct. 19, 2014, according to State Police Sergeant David Thistlewood.
“I did not detect any alcohol on her,” said Thistlewood, who interviewed Guzman at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “She was in an emotional state, but she answered all my questions.”
Guzman’s blood-alcohol level was about 0.2, prosecutors said in court papers. The legal limit is 0.08. Her defense attorney is trying to keep the blood sample from being considered as evidence, arguing that it’s unclear whether the specimen belonged to Guzman.
Thistlewood’s testimony came on the opening day of her trial in Suffolk Superior Court. Prosecutors allege Guzman was speeding when her 2007 BMW 530XI crossed the double yellow line and struck a 2002 Toyota Camry going in the opposite direction.
Killed were Guzman’s friends: Everett resident Maria Y. Hernandez, 44, and Luz A. Puentes-Sheets, 33, who lived in Revere, authorities said.
State Police said Hernandez and Puentes-Sheets weren’t wearing seat belts, and that was a factor in their deaths.
The driver of the Camry, Cesar Viasus, and his passenger, Luis Parra Jimenez, survived with broken bones, prosecutors have said.
Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger hasn’t ruled on a defense request to keep Guzman’s blood sample from being considered as evidence, her lawyer said. Salinger is deciding the case, not a jury.
“There were procedural problems with the seizure of her blood,” Guzman’s lawyer, Arthur L. Kelly, said in an interview. He added that the crash wasn’t intentional.
Kelly wrote that a nurse who treated Guzman said the medical record is unclear as to whether proper protocols were followed in drawing the blood and sending it out for testing.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges including manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide. She is free on $4,000 bail, court records show.
Thistlewood testified that he didn’t notice an alcohol smell on Guzman, but noted he couldn’t get close to her in the emergency room. She said she didn’t know what happened, except that somebody hit her car, according to the trooper.
Prior to the crash, Guzman said, she had visited Guilt, a Boston nightclub, court papers show. She was driving toward Everett to drop off her friends when the crash occurred, the authorities have said.
Trooper Brian Mahoney testified that Guzman’s BMW was speeding at the time of the collision — traveling at 49 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone, Mahoney said. The Camry was being driven at 21 miles per hour, below the speed limit of 30 miles per hour, he said. The speed limits in that area differ for the outbound and inbound lanes, he said.
Dr. Kimberley Springer, a state medical examiner, testified that Hernandez died of blunt trauma to the head, neck, and extremities. Puentes-Sheets died of blunt trauma to the torso, she said.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Friday.Laura Crimaldi
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.