CAMBRIDGE — Initial testimony was taken Tuesday in Henry County Circuit Court regarding a fatal crash that occurred April 9, 2017, when three people were returning to Kewanee from Davenport.
Gabina Garcia, 27, was killed when a single-car rollover accident happened about 3:15 a.m. on Illinois 78 north of Kewanee. Lorenzo S. Quintero, 48, of Kewanee, was charged May 5, 2017, with three counts of Class 2 felony aggravated driving/causing death.
Defense attorney Larry Vandersnick said evidence was not sufficient to arrest his client.
Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Colton Martin testified that he didn't administer field sobriety tests because he was concerned about the well-being of everyone in the vehicle and was most concerned about getting the proper care for them, not about who was driving when the accident occurred.
Martin said Lorenzo Quintero told him he was in the back seat sleeping at the time of the crash, but his wife, Yolanda, said he had been driving. The deputy said Yolanda Quintero said she didn't remember the accident but she did remember they had been returning from a dance club in Davenport. Her injuries included chest bruising from her upper right side down to her left, consistent with placement of a seat belt if she had been sitting in the passenger seat.
Deputy George Marquez, a Spanish-speaking deputy, was one of those at the scene, and Martin asked him to talk to Lorenzo Quintero. Marquez also reported that Lorenzo Quintero said they had been coming from a club in Davenport, and he said Quintero had slurred speech.
Martin also said witnesses who came upon the scene told him Quintero was the one behind the steering wheel at the time they arrived.
Vandersnick said the blood draw requested by law enforcement was not consensual, but testimony was given that Marquez was present and Martin offered to have him read the warning to the motorists in Spanish. Martin said Quintero said he could understand it in English, and there was no coercion.
Marquez said as they were talking, sometimes Quintero seemed to understand English, and sometime Marquez translated because “other times he just didn't acknowledge or didn't answer.”
Martin said he handed Quintero a citation for driving under the influence and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident prior to the blood draw.
Gary Davidson, a registered nurse at the emergency room at St. Luke's in Kewanee, also said no coercion was used to obtain the blood draw because that would have been against his ethics.
In an earlier hearing, a defense motion to bar medical evidence was denied. Vandersnick had argued the records went to the state's attorney's office rather than the judge, where they would have been subject to judicial review. Judge Jeffrey O'Connor found no fault on the part of the state's attorney's office or the circuit clerk's office.
Tuesday's hearing will be continued on Aug. 6.