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Trial of man accused in casino employees crash begins

December 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The trial is now underway for the Valley man accused of killing three casino workers when he slammed into their car.

Justin Rice is accused of driving under the influence and killing three Chukchansi employees who were on their way to work three years ago.

Prosecutors say Justin Rice was speeding and driving all over Highway 41 before he hit a car head on.

This afternoon it was revealed for the first time, Rice was under the influence of meth during the deadly crash.

Prosecutors say Rice was driving a modified Chevy Silverado pickup and had methamphetamine in his system when he hit a Buick century with 5 women in it. Family members say the women worked at a buffet at the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.

Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, but many family members are listening to testimony, including Fernando Flores. His mother Maria Erika Flores died in the violent crash.

"Basically everything I've heard from that day, until now are just stories. I want to know exactly what happened. Was he under the influence, how much or where was he? You know, the whole 411," the victim's son, Fernando Flores, said.

Defense attorneys dropped a stunning claim early in opening statements telling the jury Rice was asleep at the wheel. Despite reports from other motorists that Rice was driving erratically, and even hitting the guardrail. His attorneys told jurors he was actually drifting back and forth as he slept.

Fernando says he has never wanted to see the crime scene pictures until now. It's taken a long time to let go of the anger he feels against Rice.

"Yes, he did change my life forever, he did, because of the situation. But, I'm not here to play god . I'm not here to say you are going to die or go to jail or whatever," Flores said.


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