The defense attorney seemed to admit that Esteysi Izazaga Sanchez, 31, drove her car up onto a sidewalk and hit a pedestrian so hard that part of one leg snapped off, while the rest of his body went through her windshield and into her car. And the then 29-year-old woman, after a night of hard drinking, continued to drive another mile toward her own home in Oceanside, where she abandoned her damaged car — with the body inside — one street away from her own home.
Herb Weston is defending “Stacey” Sanchez against charges of driving without a license, DUI, hit-and-run with death, vehicular manslaughter, and murder. Jury trial began Wednesday, March 28.
Weston suggested to the jury that Stacey fell asleep behind the wheel and “She is not guilty of felony DUI with injury, she did not do something wrong.” He said, “She was not conscious at the time the vehicle went off the roadway.” And, “You should find her guilty of certain charges but not others.”
Jack Tenhulzen, 69, died on impact about 6 a.m. on June 27, 2016. The fatal collision happened on Mission Road where it passes under highway 76.
Prosecutor Robert Bruce showed video to the jury, taken by a man who said he witnessed Sanchez get out of her vehicle in front of his house, then stagger down the street, while she was on the phone explaining the situation to her husband.
The video continued while the witness walked around the car, first revealing an upside-down man in the front passenger side, his head on the floor and his legs up the seatback. He was only wearing underwear because the impact jerked him out of his pants and shoes, the prosecutor said. The video continued around the car to reveal a disembodied lower leg setting on top of the car’s trunk. Spectators in the courtroom repeatedly gasped at the sights.
The first witness to testify was Sanchez’s husband, who confirmed that about 5 a.m. he had phoned his wife to tell her she must come home, to watch the kids, because he had to leave for work. She called him back about 6 a.m., crying hysterically, to say there was a man in her car and she thought he was dead.
The prosecutor asserts that Sanchez was drinking with her gal pals since about 10 p.m. the previous night, and they met with some male friends at a Super 8 Motel about 3 a.m. Hotel surveillance video confirms Stacey started home after her husband phoned her.
When police caught up to her at her home, she had changed out of her blood spattered-clothes but still had glass in her hair, the prosecutor said. Her blood was drawn some hours later, at 9:50 a.m., and it tested at 0.17 blood alcohol content. A toxicologist will testify that her blood alcohol level while she was driving would have been 0.22, the prosecutor told the jury.