Ex-medic takes stand in her intoxication manslaughter trial
Terri Elmore testified that she does not remember the night prosecutors say she lost control of her car and struck a van, killing a pastor and his wife
AUSTIN, Texas — Former paramedic Terri Elmore testified Thursday that she does not remember the night prosecutors say she lost control of her car and struck the van, killing a pastor and his wife.
On the stand, she shed tears as she told jurors that she was first hearing about the specifics of the events that led up to that November 2011 wreck through the testimony in her trial this week.
“I don’t remember taking my kids to school. I don’t remember that day. It’s gone,” she said.
Elmore, 42, stands charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter with a deadly weapon, offenses each carrying a penalty of between two to 20 years in prison.
Court records say she had been traveling west on U.S. 290 near Baxter Lane when her 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser crossed the center line and hit the van of Ernest and Barbara Boyett head-on. The couple died at the scene, and Elmore was flown to a hospital with serious injuries.
In court Thursday, she told jurors that she had suffered massive internal bleeding and broken the right side of her face, several collar bones and her back. “By the grace of God, I fully healed,” she said.
But she was in a coma for days and does not remember waking up, she told jurors. She still struggles with her memory, she testified, such as remembering where she parked her car or when to pick up her children from school.
The memory issues frighten her, she said, and she has sought neurological help.
Defense lawyer James Erickson also asked Elmore about fainting spells she said she has had since she was a child. She said these occurred randomly every couple of years, and that since she was in the medical field had treated herself.
Two days prior to the collision, she had passed out while running, and in the past, she had fainted while at work.
“It was just a part of my life,” she said. “I would just deal with the dizziness that came with them.”
In her cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Mona Shea said Elmore and her lawyer were implying the fainting issues could have been a factor in the crash that took the lives of the Boyetts.
“You know now, through the testimony, that you went out with a friend the night of the wreck and drank alcohol,” Shea said, displaying photos of the bar where the two friends met and of the receipts indicating Elmore had purchased four beers.
Members in the audience wiped away tears as the prosecutor displayed a photograph of the Boyetts on the court screens. Shea asked Elmore whether, given her experience in the medical field, she knew that drinking while driving was unsafe, especially with fainting issues. Elmore responded she knew it was.
Both sides have rested in the case. Closing arguments have been scheduled for Friday afternoon but could be moved to Monday due to inclement weather.
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