2 men to stand trial
friends death in car race
Source: Union Tribune
Author: Leslie Wolf
Diego, CA - 2 men to stand trial over friends death in car race
CAJON -- Two men from Spring Valley were ordered yesterday to stand
trial on charges of manslaughter because of a high-speed illegal
race in which one of their friends was killed.
Michael Haney, 20, and Robert Timothy Garsen Jr., 19, are both out of
jail on their own recognizance, living with their families as long as
promise not to drink or drive.
each faces a potential 10-year prison term if convicted of driving
under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter.
accident that took the life of 20-year-old Nicholas Randy McLaughlin
happened after the friends spent a day at the beach in La Jolla,
to testimony in a preliminary hearing in El Cajon Municipal Court.
three and another friend, Gerald Lee Goodson, had been drinking at the
beach Sept. 13. On the way home at around 6:30 p.m., Haney, who was
his blue Honda Prelude with McLaughlin in the passenger seat, began
with Garsen's green Mitsubishi Eclipse.
witnesses told police afterward that they saw the two cars speeding
east on state routes 52, 125 and 94. Two witnesses said the cars
to be going over 100 mph, said Highway Patrol Officer Larry Landeros.
witness said he was driving at 65 mph when the two cars passed him
"like he was standing still," Landeros said.
the Honda tried to pass the Mitsubishi on the left, and went onto
the dirt of the center divider of 94 near the Sweetwater Springs
exit, kicking up a large cloud of dust, the witnesses said.
the dust cleared, it became apparent that both Haney and Garsen had
crashed. Two other cars also were hit in the pileup.
car crashed into a concrete abutment, killing his passenger on
impact, said Highway Patrol Officer Joseph Jones.
Simon, a lifeguard, was in one of the other cars that was
sideswiped by Garsen in the collision. She testified that she helped
crawl out a window of his car, which was starting to burn, but
was already dead.
was awake but dazed when Jones got there, Jones said. Haney fell
unconscious as he was being loaded into an ambulance, and was taken to a
hospital in critical condition.
and Goodson were not as severely injured. Simon suffered whiplash
and has not been able to return to work or school since, she testified.
McLaughlin was a passenger in Haney's car, prosecutor Gloria Collins
said Garsen was also charged with manslaughter because it was evident
the two were racing.
blood-alcohol level, taken shortly after the wreck, was .05
percent, according to testimony. Haney's blood-alcohol level was .09
percent, and McLaughlin's was .07 percent.
.08 percent is the threshold at which a person is generally
considered to be driving drunk, the limit is .05 percent for drivers
the legal drinking age of 21.
Questions, comments and
criticisms can be directed to: Jeff