Nearly two years has passed, but the second-degree murder trial of Marjorie Reitzell finally got underway with opening statements on May 7. The 55-year-old Menlo Park woman is charged with the deaths of a couple who were walking their dog when they were struck by her car as she drove along Chilco Street.
The Oct. 24, 2013, crash killed Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Kaur Singh, 45. The couple left behind three teenage children.
The 1998 Honda Accord driven by Ms. Reitzell struck the couple from behind, according to police, before bounding over the median into the westbound lane, where it hit another car that held four teenagers and then ran into a tree.
A test reportedly showed that her blood alcohol level that night was 0.23 percent, more than twice the legal limit, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in November 2012, she was on probation and had a valid driver's license at the time of the fatal collision, according to law enforcement officials.
Mr. Wagstaffe said that her probation officer had warned the defendant that she could kill someone by drinking and driving. Mr. Wagstaffe said she had engaged in a "lengthy pattern of drinking on the day of the offense" and had caused a non-injury collision earlier that same day.
Ms. Reitzell is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, causing injury while driving under the influence, and repeat driving under the influence with enhancements for injuring more than one person and for allegedly having a blood alcohol level higher than 0.15 percent.
The prosecution continued to present its evidence in San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday, May 12.
Attorney Richard Keyes, appointed by the court to represent Ms. Reitzell, did not respond to a request for comment. He plans to present a defense that claims the couple's dog ran into the road and his client swerved to avoid the animal, striking the Singhs by accident, according to trial notes from the District Attorney's Office.
She remains in custody on $2 million bail.