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Emotional 911 call played for jurors in Araceli Nava trial

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- The trial for an El Paso woman accused of driving drunk, hitting and killing a bicyclist five years ago began Monday morning. Key testimony caused some people to leave the courtroom in tears.

Araceli Nava, 29 sat in court with her attorneys by her side and listened to an emotional phone call she made to police on Aug. 29, 2009 admitting to hitting and killing Gustavo Vega Jr., 47.

Nava admitted to taking six shots and drinking two beers at a party before getting behind the wheel the morning of the incident. She said her last drink was around 6 a.m. The crash was four hours later.

Jurors heard Nava tell a dispatcher she was going home and got lost on North Loop. She said she tried to call her sister, was falling asleep at the wheel and drifted into the shoulder lane where Vega was bicycling.

"I hit him with my right side. He's down. I think he's dead," Araceli Nava told the dispatcher. "Hurry, please."

Vega's family burst into tears when photos of his lifeless body were shown. Prosecutors also showed pictures of Nava's damaged car, which had a single, circular smash on the windshield where police said Vega's head hit.

El Paso County Chief Medical Examiner Juan Contin said Vega died instantly of a broken neck.

When Nava first checked to see if Vega was OK she told dispatchers, "I don't feel a pulse, he's already cold."

What hit home the most for the Vega family, though, was when prosecutors physically pulled out Vegas mangled bicycle that was broken in two pieces. That's when Vegas sister was seen walking out of the courtroom abruptly in tears.

Prosecuting attorney Kevin Marcantel said at around 10 that August morning Vega, "believes he has years ahead of him, but he does not."

While Nava admits to the crime her attorneys Dolph Quijano and Omar Carmona told jurors she isn't guilty of intoxicated manslaughter as charged. They claimed no one can prove the crash was caused because of intoxication.

If convicted Nava could face two to 20 years in prison.

Jurors will be back in the 346th District Court Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

The defense is expected to begin calling their own witnesses.

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