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Driver's blood-alcohol content was more than twice limit

Victoria Advocate - 12/16/2017

Dec. 16--A Victoria man's blood-alcohol level contradicted his claims that he had only a couple of drinks the night of a fatal 2014 crash.

Rodolfo Alvarez, 44, made the claim during interviews with authorities moments after the crash.

But forensic experts testified Friday he likely had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.18, more than double the legal level for intoxication.

"He was very intoxicated.," District Attorney Stephen Tyler said after trial had recessed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a person with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 is likely to exhibit substantial impairment in maintaining attention and controlling a vehicle.

Friday, police officers and forensic experts testified Alvarez was severely intoxicated on the night of 9-year-old Paris Sophia Lorraine Calhoun's death. Alvarez is accused of crashing his Ford F-350 pickup at 89 mph into a Ford Expedition carrying the girl. The impact vaulted the SUV through the air and ultimately killed her.

Although blood taken more than two hours after the crash revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.101, calculations based on the defendant's weight, time of last meal and other factors hinted it was far higher, Tyler said outside the courtroom.

Furthermore, a Department of Public Safety forensic scientist testified Alvarez's blood showed no evidence he was suffering from a diabetes-related episode.

The prosecution ended the day with testimony from Senior Patrol Officer Branden Allen, head of the Victoria Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit. With the aid of an overhead projector, he recreated the crash through measurements, evidence and observations taken from the scene of the crash.

Although some of the testimony overlapped that of a Department of Public Safety trooper who testified Monday, emphasizing such details to the jury was essential for the prosecution, Tyler said.

"We've charged a person with murder," Tyler said. "The stakes are very high. We need to thoroughly investigate and demonstrate that we had enough care to find the truth."

Nevertheless, defense attorney Guillermo Lara Jr., of San Antonio, said after court had recessed that authorities' investigation included alarming gaps and oversights.

"They didn't do a lot of things they should have," he said.

Testimony is scheduled to resume 8:30 a.m. Monday.


(c)2017 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)

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