Prosecutor: Defendant's 'I don't care' attitude led to fatal DUI - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Prosecutor: Defendant's 'I don't care' attitude led to fatal DUI crash; defense says driver was unconscious

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man's "I don't care" attitude led him to drive while intoxicated and cause a chain-reaction accident that killed a retiree, a prosecutor said Wednesday, but a defense attorney said his client was unconscious at the time of the crash and should be acquitted.

In her closing argument in the trial of Anthony Guarino, Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Konstanzer said the 57-year-old defendant admitted he was impaired when he left a bar in National City.

She said Guarino had 11 shots of Jack Daniels whiskey at the bar before driving almost 30 miles to North County.

He was driving 50-60 mph when the crash occurred at an intersection in Carmel Mountain Ranch the evening of Aug. 20, police said.

Marc Durham, 65, who had retired a week earlier from his security job at General Dynamics, died at the crash scene. Five other people -- including a 9-year-old boy -- were injured.

"The defendant acted with an `I don't care' type of attitude," the prosecutor said.

Guarino acted like "I don't care what happens. I'm going to do what I want to do," Konstanzer said.

According to a witness, the defendant's blood-alcohol level could have been as high as .20 percent that night, the prosecutor said. Guarino's blood-alcohol was measured at .15 percent about 2 1/2 hours after the 9 p.m. crash.

"There is no way he was not under the influence of alcohol," Konstanzer told the jury. "He (Guarino) made a poor decision, and the result was devastating."

The prosecutor urged the panel to convict Guarino of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.

Defense attorney Brad Patton told the jury that Guarino should be found not guilty because he was unconscious when he slammed into the back of Durham's car.

Because of burn-off, the prosecution has no idea what Guarino's blood-alcohol level was at the time of the crash, Patton said, telling jurors that prosecutors had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Patton said Guarino should be acquitted of all charges -- except for misdemeanor DUI -- if jurors find that he was unconscious at the time of the crash.

"They (prosecutors) have to prove he (Guarino) didn't drift into a 'microsleep' moments before the accident," Patton told the jury.

The attorney said Guarino's severe sleep apnea could have brought on the so-called "microsleep" as he approached the intersection of Camino del Norte and Paseo Lucido.

Guarino drifted into a lane and never hit the brakes, Patton said.

When talking to paramedics, Guarino had no memory of the accident, his attorney said.

"You can't convict of felony charges unless you are convinced that he (the defendant) acted with criminal negligence," Patton told the jury.

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