A trial is under way against a 46-year-old Paso Robles woman accused of causing the drunken-driving crash than killed a 20-year-old man last year.
Jennifer Anne Chill, 46, has pleaded not guilty to the felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence Oct. 3, 2010.
Chill allegedly struck a truck driven by Jacob Keller on Serenade Drive in Paso Robles about 8:15 p.m. while driving a Pontiac Sunfire.
Keller, of Paso Robles, was ejected from the GMC truck and died. A passenger in his vehicle, Nolan Martinez, was injured but survived the wreck.
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Chill’s blood-alcohol level tested at 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal driving limit, according to investigators.
Lynette Graff testified Tuesday that she was at the scene after the crash and witnessed Keller lying underneath the truck’s tires and Martinez badly hurt near the curb.
Chill initially told Graff that “I was just walking by” as her justification for being at the scene. But Chill’s daughter told her Chill caused the wreck, Graff testified.
“I told her, ‘You did this. Look at what you’ve done,’ ” Graff said. “She responded, ‘I was almost home. They hit me. I was almost home.’ ”
Graff said she recognized Chill from Walmart, where Chill worked.
Paso Robles Police Department Officer Jon Tatro, one of the first law enforcement officials to respond, testified Tuesday during questioning from prosecutor Matt Kraut that Chill nearly fell over during a field sobriety test and smelled of alcohol.
“She said she was driving by but didn’t think she’d collided with the vehicle,” Tatro testified.
Officers at the scene recorded photo images of damage to the left side of Chill’s car that night and the damaged rear of the truck.
Defense attorney Gerald Carrasco cross-examined witnesses called by the prosecution Tuesday and Wednesday, probing them about the lack of visibility on the roadway, which is on a hill, with a blind spot around a bend and no center divider lane. He also questioned them about whether there was certainty of who might have hit whom.
Paso Robles Police investigators said Chill told them she was returning from a friend’s residence when the crash occurred. The trial is expected to continue next week and wrap up with closing arguments Friday.