TAMPA, Fla. - After a trial and a hung jury last fall, a man accused of causing a crash that killed another driver is back in court.
Jeremy Guerrero was charged with DUI manslaughter after investigators say he caused the crash that killed 57-year-old Maria Perez on I-75 near Big Bend Road back in November 2019.
They say Guerrero was high on meth when he plowed into Perez's vehicle, causing her vehicle to go head-on into a tree. The mother of five died at the scene.
Now Guerrero is back in court and Florida Highway Patrol trooper Joseph Angelicchi is telling a new jury what he saw and heard.
"In my opinion, this individual is impaired beyond his normal faculties to operate a motor vehicle safely," said Angelicchi.
Dash cam video shows Guerrero agreed to undergo a series of field sobriety tests. He was then driven to a fire station to provide a blood sample. During that drive, he apparently realized he may be in big trouble.
"We hit another car?" asked Guerrero.
"Yeah, you hit her on the road, she hit a tree," explained Angelicchi.
The trooper told Guerrero the victim died. That's when Guerrero told the trooper that someone else was actually driving at the time of the crash.
"She’s messed up, she was the driver and it’s her own car," Guerrero claimed.
However, troopers say the woman Guerrero tried to blame was actually his passenger.
During a court break, Guerrero had a few choice words for the trooper.
"DNA don’t lie, you manipulated the trial," Guerrero spouted.
He went on to say the public needs to know the case was being manipulated, but Tampa Judge Michael Williams said Guerrero needs to know his role, too.
"I'm gonna be real clear, you are not to have an outburst to the media, to the trooper, or any other witness. It’s disruptive. I let it go the first time. It’s not gonna happen a second time," he warned.
Guerrero apologized and agreed to be on his best behavior, but his antics and gestures at the defense table got him in trouble again.
Judge Williams excused the jury.
"You’re not gonna gesture to anyone again, are we clear?" the judge asked. "You said you were clear last time. Are you clear this time?"
"Yes, sir," responded Guerrero.
The defense tried to get back on track, pointing the finger at the woman in the car with Guerrero. The jury saw a picture of her, apparently passed out in the car.
Guerrero's defense claims the woman's DNA is on the driver's side airbag.
But Guerrero's own words during a recorded and monitored jailhouse call contradicts the story about the other woman.
"I chose to drive her home because she was going to kill herself," Guerrero is heard saying. "In the drive, she started fighting with me, pulled the steering wheel and let me run into that other car."