Mistrial declared in drunk driving death
A mistrial was declared Friday in the retrial of a Poway man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a woman in an SUV near University Town Center.
John Sedej, 47, wiped tears away as the jury foreperson told Judge Melinda Lasater that the panel was hopelessly deadlocked on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two DUI counts.
The final vote on the manslaughter charge was 8-4 in favor of guilt, said Sedej’s attorney, Colin Murray. The jurors all agreed that if Sedej caused the crash, the negligence was not “gross,’' Murray said.
The mistrial was the second in Sedej’s case. Last December, a jury deadlocked 11-1 for guilt on the charges against the defendant.
A status conference is scheduled Wednesday, at which time prosecutors could tell the judge if they intend to try the case a third time.
Sedej is accused in the July 13, 2007, crash at La Jolla Village Drive and Genesee Avenue that took the life of 28-year-old Nancy Galeana-Ramirez.
Two other women riding in the back of the 2000 Ford Expedition - the victim’s aunt and mother - were injured in the 1:20 a.m. accident, as was Sedej, who was driving an Acura SUV.
The father of two faces up to 13 years in prison if convicted.
Authorities allege Sedej ran a red light and was speeding when the Acura collided with the Expedition.
His blood-alcohol level was measured at .19 percent - more than twice the legal limit, said prosecutor Jorge Jaramillo.
“We believe the physical evidence and the light timing evidence proves Mr. Sedej did not speed or run a red light,’' Murray said after the second mistrial.