Parents of 2007 crash victims testify in trial

June 24, 2010 4:51:39 AM PDT
Testimony began Tuesday in the trial of a woman charged in an alleged drunken-driving crash that killed five teenagers three years ago.

The victims were riding in a car driven by 26-year-old Sandra Vasquez when it crashed into a utility pole in Oswego. Vasquez is charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence.

First responders to the crash over three years ago were the first to take the witness stand Tuesday.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are under a gag order which means they are barred from making public comments about the case. Family members are not under the order but declined to give any comments Tuesday.

It was the early morning hours of February 11, 2007 when the crash happened on a rural road in Oswego. The car belonged to Vasquez who prosecutors say was drunk when she offered some high school students a ride home from a party. Eight teens crammed into the four-door sedan which veered off the road and slammed into a utility pole. The impact killed five of the teens. Three others, including Vasquez, were seriously injured. Vasquez has pleaded not guilty to multiple count of reckless homicide and aggravated drunk driving.

During opening statements at her trial Tuesday the Kendall County state's attorney said Vasquez made the choice to get behind the wheel, a decision that has changed the lives of several families. The defense says that facts will show Vasquez was not drunk and the 26-year-old mother of two was trying to help in offering the teens a ride.

Several witnesses were called to testify, including Oswego police and other first responders who recalled hearing screaming from the car and described extricating the survivors who were trapped under the dead victims.

Parents of the victims also took the stand. The father of Jessica Nutoni said he didn't recognize his daughter when he had to identify her at the coroner's office.

The trial is expected to take two weeks.


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