Witnesses, first responders take stand in Fierro Trial

Witnesses, first responders take stand in Fierro Trial

POSTED: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 11:34am

UPDATED: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 9:56pm

Worker: Crash sounded "like a bomb"

Prosecutors began laying out their case in the Intoxicated Manslaughter trial of Alejandro Fierro Monday morning.

Fierro was allegedly driving drunk when he struck an El Paso Police Department squad car, killing Officer Karl McDonough and injuring Officer Rick Lopez in October of 2010.

The state played the first 911 call that Officers McDonough and Lopez were responding to, then the second 911 call that witnesses made to report the EPPD patrol car involved in crash at Zaragoza and Saul Kleinfeld.

Ochoa and another witness, Jose Rodriguez, are construction workers who were installing bill pay machines inside of the Verizon Wireless store at the corner of Zaragoza and Saul Kleinfield.

Ochoa said the crash "sounded like a bomb."

Ochoa said he walked out the front door of the store and saw the patrol car rolling backward, then hit a light pole. Both men testified that they immediately ran over to help.

Ochoa and Rodriguez rushed to the patrol car.  Ochoa said McDonough, "was convulsing...and he passed away within seconds."

Photos from accident scene show extensive damage to the passenger side where the impact occurred, and where Officer McDonough was seated.

Rodriguez said that McDonough's left side was resting on his partner, Officer Lopez. and Lopez was, "pushing partner, telling him to move."

Rodriguez said Alejandro Fierro got out of the car on his own, adding that Fierro "smelled like alcohol, he looked intoxicated," but also said that Fierro may have had a concussion and appeared confused.

Ochoa and Rodriguez both stated that Fierro asked to borrow Ochoa's phone and was trying to make a call, but an operator recording came on. Accoording to the witness, Fierro allegedly shouted into phone, "I need help! I need help!"

El Paso Police Officer Jason Newport with the Pebble Hills Tactical Unit was working a vehicle burglary investigation near Zaragoza and George Dieter the night of the crash.  He heard the call go over the police radios and immediately responded. 

Newport was in plain cothes when he arrived and approached Fierro and the witneses. He testified that Fierro had "slurred speech, droopy eyes...but did not smell alcohol.

For a live update from the trial, you can follow Sandra Ramirez via twitter at @sramirezreports

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