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Trial begins over Ramona crash that killed pregnant woman on Mother's Day

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 18:58:15-04

EL CAJON (CNS) - A driver whose blood-alcohol content was nearly quadruple the legal limit slammed into the back of a pregnant woman's car in Ramona two years ago, killing the woman and her unborn child, a prosecutor told a jury Wednesday.

But a defense attorney denied that his client caused the crash, claiming the prosecution's case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence and a shoddy police investigation.

Andrew Milonis, 46, is accused in the Mother's Day 2017 crash that killed 29-year-old Jessica Foderingham and her unborn child, a girl who Foderingham and her husband planned to name Ayanna. Milonis is charged with two counts each of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and drunken driving.

RELATED: Witness: Driver in El Cajon crash, that killed pregnant mother, was 'very intoxicated'

Foderingham was eight months pregnant when her Dodge Dart was hit, sending it careening into a tree in the center median on San Vicente Road about 6:45 p.m. May 14, 2017.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans said in her opening statement that Milonis had been drinking throughout the day, having at least seven drinks at a local bar before he got behind the wheel of his GMC Yukon.

The prosecutor said a bartender recommended that Milonis arrange a Lyft ride to get home, but he ignored the advice. Then while driving, Milonis struck a tree and multiple telephone poles before crashing into Foderingham's car, Evans said.

RELATED: Driver accused of killing pregnant woman, taking Lyft to bar

After the crash, Milonis continued driving to a nearby hotel, where employees called a Lyft driver for him, Evans said. When the Lyft driver arrived and asked Milonis where he wanted to go, the defendant allegedly told the driver something to the effect of, "Anywhere I can get a drink," according to Evans.

He was driven to a bar on Main Street, where sheriff's deputies located and arrested him shortly after he arrived. When his blood was tested, he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.20, but Evans alleged it was above 0.30 at the time of the crash -- well above the 0.08 legal limit.

The prosecutor told jurors the impact of the crash left a partial imprint from Milonis' license plate on the back of Foderingham's car, and there was no evidence of mechanical issues on either car that might have contributed factors to the crash.

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Six months earlier, Milonis has been arrested on suspicion of DUI for allegedly driving drunk and hitting a neighbor's fence before going home, according to Evans, who said he suffered a minor head injury in the crash and had a 0.28 blood alcohol content at the time.

Christian Foderingham, a U.S. Marine, testified Wednesday that he and his wife's two young sons from a previous relationship began Mother's Day by making her breakfast and showering her with gifts throughout the day. The couple then left home for Jessica Foderingham's grandmother's house in Ramona, taking two cars -- Jessica in her Dodge Dart and Christian driving the boys in his Hyundai.

He was driving ahead of his wife when he heard a loud bang behind him, saw a dark-colored SUV swerve onto a sidewalk and witnessed his wife's car slam into a tree. He testified that after hearing the loud noise, he saw his wife's car flying through the air before it struck the tree head-on and bounced back into lanes of traffic.

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"It felt like my heart stopped," he testified.

Foderingham said he ran to his wife's car, smashed the driver's side window open and cut off her seatbelt to remove her from the wreckage. An off- duty firefighter helped Foderingham perform CPR until emergency personnel arrived and took her to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, where she died, according to the victim's husband.

Milonis' attorney, Ward Clay, told jurors the crash was "a tragic accident" but said Milonis was not responsible.

"No one witnessed exactly how the accident happened," Clay said.

The attorney said Christian Foderingham never got a good look at the SUV driver.

Foderingham testified that the SUV had tinted windows and there might have been two people inside. He could only confirm that the driver was Caucasian.

Clay claimed that at the time of the crash, Milonis was not near the crash scene.

The attorney also said the California Highway Patrol "made major mistakes" in their investigation of the case, and that "critical, forensic evidence" had been lost or destroyed, though he did not specify what that evidence was.

Clay said he expected the jury to be "angry and want to hold someone responsible. But that person is not in this courtroom."