Jurors in 35th District Court acquitted Juan Lopez Wednesday of intoxication assault in connection with a 2003 accident that seriously injured a woman.
Lopez, 29, of Brownwood - not of San Saba, as reported in Tuesday’s Bulletin - was charged following a two-vehicle accident that happened at 4:09 a.m. on April 13, 2003.
Lopez was the driver of a Ford pickup that collided with an Eagle Talon at the intersection of U.S. 377 and Brady Avenue. Police said Lopez failed to yield to the Eagle.
Linda Jimenez, 39, a passenger in the Talon, was disabled as a result of the accident and lives in a nursing home, testimony showed.
Prosecutor Ryan Locker presented evidence that Lopez blew a .18 and .16 in a breath analysis. Lopez told police he’d had about six beers over a five-hour period, testimony showed.
The driver of the Talon, Robert Perez, testified that he’d been at a barbecue with Jimenez the night before and then to a party. Perez said he’d had a beer at the barbecue and another beer at the party, which he and Jimenez left at 3 a.m.
Defense attorney Evan Stubbs introduced evidence showing a methamphetamine pipe was found in the Talon and that Perez had alcohol and methamphetamine in his system. Perez testified that he had used methamphetamine a couple of days before the accident.
Stubbs reminded jurors in his closing argument that the computer printout of Lopez’ breath test had a mistake - it showed that the breath analysis was done 45 minutes before the accident even happened.
Stubbs also argued that Lopez would needed to have consumed more than a dozen beers over the five-hour period to blow a .18 and would have been stumbling drunk. Lopez was polite and cooperative after the accident, Stubbs said.
Stubbs suggested that it was Perez who was intoxicated and was party-hopping, and also under the influence of methamphetamine. He told jurors a 12-pack of beer was found in the Talon that had only three beers.
Locker told jurors the time discrepancy on the computer printout just meant that the clock was wrong, but that the numbers on the breath test were accurate.
Locker told jurors there was no doubt that Lopez had caused the accident and that he had been intoxicated. Locker reminded jurors of testimony that Lopez had failed a field sobriety test after the accident.
“My heart really, really goes out to the girl,” Stubbs said after the verdict, referring to Jimenez. “It’s never going to be any less sad for Ms. Jimenez.
Stubbs complimented Locker on his efforts at prosecuting the case. “There’s just not good evidence, and I don’t think the prosecution did a bad job with the case,” Stubbs said.
Locker could not be reached for comment after the verdict.