Teen suspect to be tried as adult - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Teen suspect to be tried as adult

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – We've uncovered new and disturbing details about a deadly accident involving a Chesterfield teen. Jose Martinez, 17, allegedly drove drunk the wrong way on the Powhite Parkway and killed two men. 

He is now facing at least 40 years in prison if convicted of the two aggravated involuntary manslaughter charges. Had the case stayed in juvenile court, that punishment would only be about a year. Tuesday, a judge said that's not long enough.

"It is not possible to overstate the tragedy of this case," a Chesterfield judge said while ruling to try Martinez as an adult. 

His decision brought relief to the families of Sammer Ballout and Eddie Elawar.

"Anything wrong can possibly be done by a person he did that night," said brother-in-law Osama Ballout. "So we just want justice."

In court Tuesday for the first time, we heard from the officers who responded to the scene on the Powhite Parkway, where the two friends were killed in March. They said Martinez's blood alcohol level was between .14 and .18. That's about twice the legal limit of someone actually allowed to drink. 

One investigator explained seconds before impact, Martinez was driving 96 mph the wrong way without a license. 

The defense attorney told the judge what you have in this case is alcohol abuse and incredibly bad judgment. And while the act was reckless, it was not intentional.

Two dozen relatives of the victims packed the courtroom. Patricia Segura, who has a daughter with Sammer, cried as she heard details of the collision that took his life.

"It almost feels like there was no out," she said. "It couldn't have been avoided."

Every day since has been a struggle for their 7-year-old daughter, Marisol.

"She understands that her father is no longer coming back," Segura said. "When I ask her, you know she misses him."

There were a number of other charges such as DUI and driving without a license. Prosecutors told NBC12 they plan to bring indictments for those counts in Circuit Court.

Martinez's family and attorney did not want to speak on camera.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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