SAN DIEGO – The fate of a 21-year-old man accused of driving drunk when he slammed head-on into a car carrying a family of five, killing two, will now be up to a jury.
Shane MacDonald was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while driving drunk causing great injury.
California Highway Patrol investigators said MacDonald was driving in the wrong direction on southbound Interstate 15 near Scripps Ranch when he slammed into a car killing Rodolfo De La Torre, 55, and 84-year-old Teresa Hernandez.
The De La Torre family of Escondido was headed to the airport to go to a wedding in Mexico.
Julio De La Torre and his sister Carolina were in the mangled car and testified Thursday during the preliminary hearing.
“I heard a loud noise and when I looked to my left, my mom wasn’t there anymore,” said Carlolina. “We were all yelling for help.”
“I remember trying to see who was conscious or not, my dad and Grandma didn’t respond,” said Julio. “I collected myself and started praying with my mom and my sister.”
Gabin Loy was one of several witnesses to testify he saw MacDonald that night.’
“Lights blinded me. They were turned the wrong direction,” said Loy. “All I know is he hit a car, it seemed head on and it was horrific.”
Loy said at the accident scene, MacDonald seemed like he wanted to leave.
“He was stumbling. We had to get him to sit down, he was restless he got up again and tried to go, off away. The second time we made him sit down,” said Loy.
Prosecutors said earlier that night MacDonald was with friends at a house party in El Cajon. His friend Eric Santos testified they were drinking.
“It was just beer, I remember Coors Lights,” said Santos.
A CHP investigator said MacDonald was given the breathalyzer test and twice he tested above the legal limit.
“Did you ask if he was given anything for his pain?” said defense attorney Cole Casey.
Casey said painkillers he received at the hospital influenced his client’s blood alcohol level. He also said MacDonald was new to San Diego and the night of the accident, he was confused and lost.
If convicted, MacDonald could face 21 years to life in prison.