Opening Statements Heard in Fresno DUI Trial

September 24, 2009 8:14:27 PM PDT
The trial got underway in the case of a Clovis woman accused of driving drunk and killing a mother of eleven children. The prosecutor accuses Donna Neely of being drunk and crashing into a car driven by Chou Thao Her. Her died at the scene and left behind 11 children. The defense calls the situation a tragedy not caused by alcohol. Judy Her hopes to move past the emotional pain from her mother's death. Chou Thao Her died July 2008 when she drove on a windy section of Auberry Road. 11 children lost their mother when investigators say Neely drove drunk and collided with Her's car. Judy said, "We lost a precious person in our family. We're still grieving everyday."

Judy and her siblings plan to attend Neely's trial. Neely is facing a jury for a gross vehicular manslaughter charge and injuring two others. Investigators say breathalyzer tests showed the woman was drunk at the time of the crash, but her defense attorney James Wasson disputes the results. Wasson told jurors his client took the prescription sleep aide Ambien, and his client was actually asleep behind the wheel. Wasson said, "People can function, can act as if they are fully awake, but yet go through a thing like fix dinner, drive a car do all kinds of things, carry on a conversation and have absolutely no memory of it."

Cameras are not allowed inside the courtroom. Chou's family wants those who think about drinking and driving to look at their family's heartache. Judy said, "This should be a lesson for someone who drinks and drives. We just hope that we get our justice. And we hope that justice is served."

Testimony continues on Friday. The victim's husband is expected to take the witness stand and talk about his wife's final moments.

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