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Investigator puts blame on El Paso police in deadly crash

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Defense attorneys pointed fingers at El Paso police Wednesday in the trial for a man accused of driving drunk, then hitting a police vehicle, killing an officer.

One witness described an officer's driving on Oct. 13, 2010 as reckless. Private investigator Roy Davis claimed officers Ricardo Lopez and Karl McDonough were traveling nearly 80 mph near the intersection of Saul Klienfield Drive and Zaragoza Road when 19-year-old Alejandro Fierro slammed into them. That crash claimed McDonough's life and left Lopez seriously injured.

Davis's testimony contradicted testimony from earlier in the week.

Monday, jurors heard testimony from Officer Jose Enriquez. Enriquez said the police car, driven by Lopez and McDonough, was traveling around 56 mph before the deadly crash.

Davis told the jury Enriquez didn't use a good method to test speed. Davis said he ran his own tests and found the police car was traveling 78 mph.

"Speed was not the cause," said Davis.

Instead, Davis said, the crash was caused because someone ran a red light.

Up until this point, prosecutors have said Fierro was the one who blew the traffic light.

Davis said that through his own evidence gathering, he discovered "the police car would have ran the red light."

Assistant District Attorney Ray Duke said the investigator was not at the accident and called Davis's testimony speculation.

Duke claimed Fierro was, in fact, the driver who blew the red light.

Duke also pointed out Davis is getting paid around $3,000 to testify for the defense.

Through questioning, Davis said he did not interview any witnesses when reaching his conclusions. He said he took information from previous reports.

During cross-examination, Duke asked Davis about impaired driving -- the main focus in the state's argument.

Earlier testimony from a blood analyst said Fierro was driving with a 0.13 blood alcohol content.

Fierro's friend Uriel Ramos told the jury Fierro often drank alcohol, then drove his car. The night of the deadly crash, Ramos admitted he saw Fierro drink some beers but said he didn't think anything of it.

"When I saw him leaving, I didn't see a problem with the way he speak or the way he walk. He seemed normal," said Ramos.

According to prosecutors, however, they say it was Fierro's drunken driving that caused the crash.

Fierro faces intoxicated manslaughter and intoxicated assault charges.

If found guilty, Fierro could face five to 99 years in prison.

The defense rested after Davis testified.

The trial will reconvene Thursday morning in the 120th District Court.

 

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