55°
Rain
FRI
 60°
 52°
SAT
 59°
 47°
SUN
 57°
 48°
MON
 60°
 45°
TUE
 58°
 47°

Highway 101 manslaughter case focuses on intoxication

Testimony resumed Monday morning in a preliminary hearing for a man charged with vehicular manslaughter in the deaths of five members of a family in a fiery crash on Highway 101 last year.

Ryan Karr, 27, is charged with felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the Jan. 19, 2007 rear-end crash that killed five of six occupants of a Honda Civic north of Santa Rosa. He is also charged with misdemeanor manslaughter, charges that don?t include the intoxication allegation.

Law enforcement officers testified last week that Karr wasn?t under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, but had ingested marijuana between three and five hours before the collision.

The question of whether Karr was legally impaired - enough to not be able to safely drive a car - was the focus of testimony Friday.

Sonoma County sheriff?s deputy Brent Kidder began testifying Monday morning. He stood by Karr while other officers investigated the crash scene and he observed Karr being given field sobriety tests by a CHP officer.

The officer testified last week that Karr ?failed? several balance and coordination tests but she did not arrest Karr at the scene. Charges were filed nearly a year later.

The preliminary hearing is expected to run throughout the day before Judge Lawrence Antolini, who will then determine if there is enough evidence to order Karr to stand trial on the charges.

Four women and a boy died in the crash: Maria Lopez Camacho, 54, Almadelia Mendera-Basurto, 16, Edith Carlos Medina, 23, Fernando Flores Carlos, 7, all of Windsor, and Carmina Solorio, 23, of Mexico. The only survivor, Christian Flores Carlos, then 4, was severely burned.

Karr has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is free on bail. Shortly after the collision, he told CHP officers he was momentarily distracted before his Mitsubishi Eclipse struck the Civic in which the family was traveling.


© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  + |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View