Testimony ends in DUI crash trial

Man accused of crashing truck into Indio home

INDIO, Calif. - Testimony wrapped up Tuesday in the trial of an alleged drunken driver who crashed his pickup truck into an Indio home, seriously injuring a man and two children inside the residence.

Juan Martinez Jr., 47, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and drunken driving causing injury in connection with the March 20, 2016, crash. He allegedly had a .17 percent blood alcohol content -- more than two times the legal limit -- at the time of the crash.

Prosecutors allege Martinez was involved in a fight with his girlfriend at a home on East Circle Drive just before 6 p.m., then drove off in his truck, but only made it as far as across the street before plowing through the wall of a home, striking a man, a 10-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. 

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The adult victim, Francisco Rodriguez, was pinned between Martinez's truck and a wall, while the boy was trapped between the truck and a couch.

Rodriguez initially only complained of back and neck pain, but later "suffered an embolism, resulting in paralysis and an inability to speak,'' according to the prosecution's trial brief.

The boy suffered a broken leg, necessitating multiple surgeries, while the girl suffered an abrasion to one of her legs.

Martinez allegedly crashed his truck into the house two additional times as he tried to drive away, at one point striking a parked car that was pushed into the home's carport, causing it to collapse, according to police.

Others from inside the home, as well as neighbors, restrained Martinez until police arrived, the brief states.

Rodriguez and the boy were airlifted to a hospital following the crash. Martinez was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs for treatment of injuries that included a broken leg and finger, according to his attorney, Cameron Quinn.

Martinez testified Tuesday that he became disoriented after sustaining a head injury in the fight preceding the crash. He claimed he was attacked by his girlfriend and her children, who threw bricks at him, striking him in the head as he sat in the truck's driver's seat.

Martinez testified that he ``blacked out'' three separate times after being struck with the brick and only remembers later being pulled out of his truck.

"He claimed to be in shock and disoriented, and in accelerating to get away, unwittingly drove into the neighbor's/subject house, resulting in serious injury to three occupants therein,'' Quinn wrote in court documents.

Martinez admitted to having three or four Chavelas -- a mixture of beer and tomato juice -- at a restaurant a few hours prior to the crash, according to the prosecution.

Martinez previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of drunken driving in 2015, about six months prior to the house crash. His blood-alcohol content was around .15 percent -- nearly double the legal limit of .08 -- in that case, according to prosecutors.

Jurors will hear closing arguments from both sides Wednesday morning.

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