Jurors who are now deliberating the fate of a Bonney Lake mother accused in a car crash that killed her two young sons have two major issues before them.
Was Jayme Lynn Davis’ driving affected by the alcohol she drank Jan. 16 at the Monster Truck show at the Tacoma Dome hours before the accident that killed 11-year-old Jordan and 8-year-old Jared Davis?
Three hours after a crash on Tacoma’s Bay Street curve, Davis’ blood-alcohol level was 0.07 percent, which is below the legal limit for drunkenness.
Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Tim Jones argued during closing arguments Monday that the alcohol nonetheless impaired Davis’ driving.
And what made the 42-year-old mother cross into oncoming traffic?
Her defense attorney argued that another car veered into Davis’ lane and forced her to react. That driver is responsible for the deaths of Jordan and Jared, defense attorney Michael Frans contended.
The 12 jurors began looking at those questions and evaluating whether Davis is guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide after listening to nearly three hours of closing arguments.
Davis and her sons were headed home about 10:35 p.m. after the Monster Truck show at the Dome. She was traveling south on Bay Street when her car went over the concrete lane divider in the 2100 block and was hit by an oncoming car. Davis’ car spun and was broadsided by an SUV.
Paramedics took the boys to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, where they died.
Jurors heard testimony over three days last week.
During closing arguments, Jones noted that the Tacoma police investigation found Davis was going too fast for the corner. She overcorrected when she realized the rear of her car was fishtailing, police said, and the car took a nearly 90-degree left turn over the divider and into oncoming traffic.
“She lost track of the turn, and she was turning into the vehicle next to her when she overreacted,” Jones said.
Officers noted a strong odor of liquor on Davis after the crash, the prosecutor said. Officers also noted that she stumbled and had bloodshot eyes and a flushed face, all of which can indicate intoxication, Jones said.
A blood draw showed Davis had a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 percent, below the legal limit for drivers of 0.08.
Jones acknowledged Davis was not legally drunk but contended she was affected by the alcohol. He directed jurors to one of their instructions, which asked them to consider whether Davis’ ability to drive was lessened by any “appreciable degree” because of the alcohol.
“Her brain was being slowed down by the alcohol she consumed before getting behind the wheel,” Jones said.
In his closing argument, Frans contended Davis was not drunk. He said she had just been involved in a traumatic crash and was concerned about her sons, which explains her behavior seen by officers.
He attacked the credibility of one of the police officers involved in the investigation, questioned the validity of the blood test and pointed out differences in the testimony of two traffic officers.
“(The toxicologist) didn’t follow the protocol,” Frans said. “The state has not proved DUI.”
Frans pointed to the testimony of a witness who said another vehicle went into Davis’ lane and caused her to go over the center line.
“She was not at fault for this accident,” Frans said. “At a minimum, this case is riddled with reasonable doubt.”
Jurors didn’t reach a verdict Monday and will continue to deliberate today.