POWAY- A 19-year-old driver will stand trial for his alleged role in an accident in February that killed a father and 14-year-old son as they left baseball practice at Poway High School.
Donald Farmer, 19, will stand trial on charges that include two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.
The accident occurred on February 12 at around 7:15 pm as Steve Pirolli, 54, and his son Stephen Jr. exited the school parking lot onto Espola Road heading north. Pirolli’s rental car – his normal vehicle was being repaired – was struck on the passenger side, according to investigators.
Pirolli died on impact and her son later died at Rady Children’s Hospital.
At Farmer’s preliminary hearing on Monday, a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) traffic investigator testified that Farmer was driving 90 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of impact.
The first investigator to arrive at the site testified that Farmer admitted to using drugs the morning of the accident.
“He had told me that he had smoked a bowl of marijuana around 10 or 11 in the morning. He also said that he had taken a Xanax pill in the morning, ”said Ryan Christy, officer.
Donald Lee Farmer, 29, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the Poway incident.
Farmer also did not have a driver’s license, according to the investigator. A permit was found on your 2005 Mercedes, but to be valid, a 25-year-old licensed driver would have to be in the car.
Christy testified that a witness told her that he saw Farmer throw objects from his trunk into a bush right after the accident. Subsequently, 10 to 15 bottles of electronic cigarettes with THC were found in the area.
A second SDSO investigator used information from the event data recorder in Pirolli’s rental car, which recorded about five seconds of data before impact.
On Friday night they were both on their way home from baseball practice when the tragedy struck.
Based on rental data, Farmer’s vehicle was driving 90 mph, the investigator testified.
The investigator also built models of the accident and repeated putting Farmer’s car at different speeds.
“When I plugged it in at 45 miles per hour, at 60 miles per hour, the collision would not have happened. It wouldn’t have happened, ”said Nathaniel Bier, officer.
About two dozen relatives and friends of the victim were in court, sometimes sobbing during testimony.
Farmer’s mother and father were also in court.
The judge, Theodore M. Weathers, ordered Farmer, who was released on bail and enrolled in a drug rehab program, to return to court for trial that will begin March 7.
If convicted of all charges, Farmer faces six to 13 years in prison, according to Assistant District Attorney Laura Evans.