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Corvette was going 138 mph just before Irvine crash killed 2, prosecutor tells jury

A driver in a convertible Corvette was going 138 mph after a night out drinking and just before he crashed at an Irvine intersection, leaving his two passengers dead, a prosecutor told jurors on Monday, July 26.

Norman David Martin, 26, faces two counts of murder in connection to the July 22, 2017, crash at Jamboree Road and Main Street that claimed the lives of Jamie Lopez and Nancy Ortiz, both 26.

During the trial’s opening statements on Monday, Deputy District Attorney Eric Scarbrough told jurors that only minutes before the crash a friend who had been out with Martin that night told him over the phone that he hoped Martin wasn’t driving.

Earlier that day, Martin and a friend had quit their jobs at Fletcher Jones Motorcars, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Newport Beach, Scarbrough told jurors. They had dinner and drinks in Laguna Beach, the prosecutor said, then met up again that night at a Costa Mesa nightclub.

Someone they knew had reserved a private table and bottle service at the club, the prosecutor said, and security footage reportedly shows Martin drinking at least five mixed vodka drinks within an hour and a half.

While at the club, Martin met Lopez and Ortiz, the prosecutor said, and persuaded the women to go to an apartment in Irvine to meet up with his friends.

The group called an Uber, but the driver told them he didn’t have enough room to take them all to the Irvine apartment in one trip, the prosecutor said. The driver wouldn’t let anyone sit in another person’s lap.

So Martin told his friends that he and the two women would meet them at the apartment.

Shortly after the friends arrived at the apartment, Scarbrough said one of them received a call from Martin saying they were on their way. The friend responded by telling Martin, the prosecutor said, “I hope you aren’t driving.”

Police investigators would later determine with the help on the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette’s on-board computer that the car was traveling at least 138 miles per hour as it approached Jamboree and Main.

Martin struck the intersection’s crown and the car went airborne, with some witnesses saying they saw sparks as it came back down to the ground, the prosecutor said.

The car landed in a different lane, still going more than 100 mph, and Martin apparently over-corrected and steered into the curb, the prosecutor said, with the Corvette striking three palm trees and a fire hydrant before spinning back onto the street.

During the prosecutor’s opening statement, the seating arrangement for the women passengers in the Corvette was not brought up.

Martin, Lopez and Ortiz were all thrown from the car. Martin and Ortiz landed in the roadway, while Lopez struck a palm tree.

Lopez and Ortiz died at the scene. Martin was taken to a hospital, where hours later his blood alcohol-level was tested at just below .08 percent, the legal limit for driving, police and the prosecutor said. Given the amount of time that had passed, police determined that Martin had been too intoxicated to drive.

Martin, who is representing himself in his trial, opted to not give an opening statement to the jury on Monday but could do so later.

If convicted, Martin faces up to 30 years to life in prison.

Source: Orange County Register

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