Witness Weeps In Testimony For Tulsa Fatal Alleged DUI Crash

Friday, April 24th 2015, 6:33 pm
By: News On 6

A suspected drunk driver is headed to trial for two counts of first-degree manslaughter and DUI.

Police say the driver sped through a red light, hitting a car full of teenagers and a 9 month old. A 12 and 16 year old were killed.

Friday's preliminary hearing was an emotional day for friends and family of the victims.

They've been waiting to find out if the case would go to trial since the accident happened last year.

One lead investigators of the case today said the wreck was one of the worst he's seen.

The scene was chaotic on the night of August 9, as first responders tried to save the lives of four teenagers and a baby.

"I know at the scene officers were extremely affected, firemen, EMSA,” TPD Cpl. Brian Collum said. “Yeah, it was pretty devastating."

Two of the teens, 12-year-old Jaquiline Avina and her 16-year-old sister Maria died in the crash.

The two kids were riding with their 17-year-old brother, his 16-year-old girlfriend and their 9-month-old daughter.

The kids were getting onto U.S. Highway 169 from 21st Street when police say 38-year-old Christy Cantrell ran a red light and smashed into the Avinas car.

Friday in court, Jesus Avina, the driver, tearfully testified about hearing his girlfriend screaming when they were hit, and how he woke up in the hospital to find out his two sisters died.

The family erupted in tears as each witness relived the accident.

Cantrell cried throughout the proceedings as she listened to each witness.

She pleaded not guilty and claims she was not driving at the time of the crash.

Police said she reeked of alcohol on the scene, had trouble standing and cursed at officers.

Police say the passenger's airbag deployed and the passenger ran from the scene.

Collum has been an officer 19 years and said out of all the collisionss he has worked, that one is burned in his memory.

"You know, it doesn't matter how long you've been doing the job,” he said. “I mean, there's certain things you see and do and you try to keep your emotions in check so you can do the job. …Every once in a while we're human too and things affect us."

Cantrell did not make bond and remains in jail until her next court date in May.