Accused drunk driver pleads not guilty to charges in crash that - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Accused drunk driver pleads not guilty to charges in crash that seriously injured teen

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Brian Larose faces up to six years in prison if convicted in a drunk driving accident that seriously injured 19-year-old Heidi Wise. Brian Larose faces up to six years in prison if convicted in a drunk driving accident that seriously injured 19-year-old Heidi Wise.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A motorist who was allegedly drunk when his vehicle slammed into the back of a car in Rancho Bernardo, leaving a young woman with head trauma and a serious brain injury, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to DUI charges.

Brian Larose, 38, is accused of bearing responsibility for the Aug. 20 accident on Bernardo Center Driver near Maturin Drive that injured Heidi Wise.

Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Konstanzer said Wise was in the left turn lane when her car was rear-ended. A witness said Larose was traveling about 60 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 35 or 40 mph, according to the prosecutor.

Larose's blood-alcohol level was .36 percent -- more than four times the legal limit for driving -- about an hour and 15 minutes after the crash, Konstanzer said.

The defendant admitted having 10 drinks, first at a pub and then at a restaurant, before the collision, the prosecutor said. Family members said Larose was supposed to be at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that night, Konstanzer said.

The victim -- who spent her 19th birthday in a hospital bed -- suffered head trauma and has a broken rib and fractured vertebrae in her back, the prosecutor said. The young woman also has memory loss, and doctors don't know if she'll fully recover, according to Konstanzer.

The defendant faces charges of DUI causing injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. Larose -- who remains free on $100,000 bail -- faces six years in prison if convicted. He will be back in court Sept. 9 for a readiness conference and Sept. 13 for a preliminary hearing.

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