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Hit-and-run trial begins for senior woman

September 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The trial for an elderly woman who fatally hit another senior with her car started Thursday.Ana Maria Torres looked forward through an interpreter she heard the prosecutor describing details of the crime she's accused of committing two years ago.

"She was bleeding from her head area and that she was unresponsive," said prosecutor Jason Baez.

The 75-year-old was driving out of St. Joseph's Church in Placentia after attending morning mass. Prosecutors allege Torres did not look for pedestrians and hit Jessie Pound as the 89-year-old woman walked slowly with a cane on the sidewalk in front of the church. A fellow church-goer witnessed the accident.

The vehicle knocked Ms. Pound down and he proceeded to see the left front tire of the vehicle go over Ms. Pound's head," explains Baez. "He heard a crunching sound and he said while the victim was being ran over she was screaming."

One witness testified Torres stopped after hitting the woman then accelerated, driving away, leaving Pound lying on the pavement bleeding.

The prosecutor alleges Torres told police she attended an earlier mass and didn't drive her car, she walked. Prosecutors also allege DNA evidence found on the underside of Torres' car belonged to the victim.

The defense says many things about the case don't make sense, insisting Torres could not have known she hit someone.

"My client is this unbelievably nice person who says in her statement to the police that she didn't do this and would never have done this and says it would be evil," explains defense attorney Gary Pohlson.

Torres friends who came to court say she's a kind woman who volunteers daily at church.

"I've known her for a long time. It's sad for the family. It's sad for my friend too," said Nellie Gonzalez.

If convicted on all counts Torres could face up to nine years in prison. The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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