The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Witness describes ‘scary’ fatal ride
Nick Maas described the ill-fated ride he got early last Sept. 15 as being “scary fast, like a roller coaster.”
Nick, who was 15 at the time, was one of six young people in a Ford Taurus that crashed on Garrisonville Road (State Route 610) in North Stafford, killing two and injuring the other four.
Alex Christopher Hablas, 18, the driver, is charged with two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and other charges. His trial started Thursday in Stafford Circuit Court.
Stafford residents Stephanie Parnell, 15, and Vincent Anthony Anguiano–Ayala, 23, died at the scene of the grisly crash, which took place about 3 a.m. a little over a mile east of the Lake Arrowhead 7–Eleven.
According to the evidence presented by prosecutors Caleb Frigerio and Amy Casey, Hablas and others went to a party in Lake Arrowhead late Sept. 14.
Witnesses said the party featured plenty of underage drinking and some illegal drug use.
The group left the party with only Hablas and one other person wearing a seat belt. Three males were in the back, and a girl was sitting on the lap of one of them.
They had traveled about three miles when Hablas lost control on a dark, curvy section of the road near Green Acre Drive.
The car struck two trees, overturned and ended up mangled in a ditch.
Nick Maas, who testified that he remembered “tasting glass,” had a large head wound but was able to call 911.
But he was unable to tell a dispatcher where he was. “I’m just clueless,” he said on a 911 tape that was played for jurors yesterday. “Please help.”
The dispatcher spent several frantic minutes trying to pinpoint the location before a passer-by, Joseph Washington, finally stopped and told the dispatcher where they were.
Other than the deceased, Tony Dotson was the most seriously injured passenger. He testified that he was in a coma for several weeks and in the hospital for about a month.
He added that Hablas is still his best friend “until the day we die.”
Hablas had not been drinking, but disputed evidence presented yesterday indicated that he had a relatively small amount of marijuana in his system.
Defense attorneys Chris Reyes and Elizabeth Hutson got the evidence linking Hablas to marijuana set aside Thursday, successfully arguing that the paperwork regarding the blood test was flawed.
But Judge Sarah Deneke agreed to hear new arguments from prosecutors Friday.
One of the more emotional moments yesterday came when medical examiner Fred Phillips described in detail the injuries suffered by Parnell and Anguiano–Ayala.
Several people left the courtroom in tears after Phillips described the numerous injuries suffered by Anguiano–Ayala.
Phillips, who said he’s handled well over 4,000 cases during his 40 years as a medical examiner, said “I’ve not seen many worse.”
In her opening statement, Hutson acknowledged that the accident was a horrible one.
But she said it was simply an accident and that Hablas’ actions fell far short of the standard necessary for an aggravated manslaughter conviction.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404