From the O.C. Register:
An autopsy report showed Courtney Frances Stewart had a blood-alcohol content above the legal limit for someone her age when the car she was driving was struck by an alleged drunken driver on April 9, prosecutors said . . . Toxicology tests conducted by the Orange County Coroner showed Stewart had a blood-alcohol content of .06, said Deputy District Attorney Susan Price. The legal limit in California for drivers under 21 is .01, while the limit for drivers 21 or older is .08.
There’s a self-serving quote from the defendant’s lawyer, in which he says that this new information is “a big revelation.” Hardly. The fact that Stewart was over the legal limit for people under 21 only means that she could, if she were still alive, be charged with DUI. Her being under the influence, however, does not mean that she did anything to cause the crash, and for Gallo’s lawyer to push that defense would require some evidence, beyond her mere BAC, that Stewart’s driving contributed to the collision. The evidence that has been reported so far, however, suggests that the driver of the other car, Andrew Gallo, was driving at a high rate of speed and ran a red light while sporting a blood-alcohol content of at least .19 (his reading two hours after the crash). Jurors will be taking all of that into account. They won’t simply look at the BAC levels of the drivers, throw their hands up in the air and say “well, both were drunk, no harm, no foul.”
This same type of situation, you may already know, is at play in the Jim Leyritz case. There, the driver who was killed was likewise over the legal limit. Leyritz’s lawyer is apparently going to present evidence that her driving, and not Leyritz’s, is what led to the accident. The BAC levels will be relevant for that inquiry, but the matter of who ran the red light and how they were otherwise driving is going to be far more relevant.