SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former Marine who was allegedly drunk when his BMW slammed into the back of a car slowing for a red light - killing a just-retired Rancho Bernardo man - must stand trial on felony charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Anthony Guarino, 57, faces up to 13 years in state prison if convicted of charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury in the Aug. 20 death of 65-year-old Marc William Durham.
Durham had been retired for one week from his job as a security chief for General Dynamics and was on his way to the movies when he was killed, according to his family.
An autopsy report shows the father of five suffered a fractured spine, rib fractures and injuries to his lung, diaphragm and spleen.
The crash occurred just after 9 p.m. at the intersection of Camino del Norte and Carmel Mountain Road, according to testimony presented at Wednesday's preliminary hearing before Judge Charles Rogers.
San Diego police Officer Michael Gottfried, an accident investigator, testified that Guarino was going 50-60 mph when his car struck the left rear of Durham's Toyota Corolla.
The initial collision set off a chain-reaction crash involving four other vehicles that left a number of people hurt, including an 8-year-old boy who complained of back and neck pain, according to court testimony.
Officer Blake Cheary testified that Guarino admitted drinking Jack Daniels whiskey at a bar in National City before getting in his car to drive home.
Cheary said Guarino told a doctor at the hospital that he had five cocktails at the bar. The officer said the defendant admitted that the alcohol consumption affected his driving, but he didn't know how.
Cheary said he determined that Guarino had been driving under the influence of alcohol.
"He was in fact impaired at the time of the collision," the officer testified.
Guarino's blood-alcohol content was measured at .15 percent about 2 1/2 hours after the deadly crash, and was probably much higher at the time of the collision, Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Konstanzer told the judge.
Defense attorney Brad Patton unsuccessfully argued that his client's actions didn't amount to gross negligence.
Patton said Guarino has been suffering from sleep apnea and apparently went unconscious just before the fatal crash.
The judge ruled that enough evidence was presented for Guarino to stand trial Jan. 10 on the manslaughter and DUI charge, as well as a charge of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher.
A readiness conference was set for Dec. 9.
Rogers allowed Guarino - a 20-year Marine Corps veteran - to remain free on $100,000 bail pending trial, but ordered that the defendant not drive or consume alcohol.
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