Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2012, 9:49 pm

Moline man pleads innocent to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

A Moline man pleaded innocent on Tuesday to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with an accident that left him temporarily wheelchair-bound and a female passenger with a fractured skull.

Jose Sierra Jr., 20, of 212 13th Ave., Moline, sustained fractures to both of his legs, and passengerJennifer Torres-Calderon is recovering after being hospitalized with severe head injuries in the Sept. 23 wreck. Mr. Sierra was driving westbound on 6th Avenue in Rock Island when he crossed an intersection at 38th Street and struck a tree, testified Rock Island Police Detective Timothy Metzger during a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in Rock Island County Circuit Court.

The vehicle then spun and struck a utility pole on the passenger side, pinning Mr. Sierra inside the vehicle, the detective said. The driver appeared confused and "highly intoxicated," according to responding officers, who smelled alcohol on Mr. Sierra's breath, Detective Metzger said.

Subsequent tests indicated Mr. Sierra had a blood alcohol level of .231 -- nearly three times the legal limit, the detective said.

Mr. Sierra and Ms. Torres-Calderon were transported to Trinity West, Rock Island, and later airlifted toOSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Mr. Sierra remained free on bond Tuesday and his attorney indicated they hope the trial will be delayed until his client is out of his wheelchair. Mr. Sierra is due again in court on Dec. 20 for a pretrial conference.