The US Navy petty officer who never let go of his phone when he drove his truck off a San Diego bridge and killed four people defended himself in court on Tuesday.
Facing thirteen collective charges ranging from gross vehicular manslaughter to while intoxicated, DUI and reckless driving, 27-year-old Richard Sepolio took to the stand in his own defense this week, attempting to clear his name.
Sepolio killed four individuals and injured seven after he drove off the bridge, his vehicle falling into a park where a motorcycle rally was taking place.
At the time of the accident, Bright was allegedly arguing on the phone with his then-girlfriend (who he later married) less than a minute before the accident was reported.
Photos and video of the 2016 incident show Sepolio clutching his phone, despite being incapacitated.
While Sepolio had had a beer and some wine with a female colleague prior to the crash, he said he was not drunk.
Sepolio argues that he was not on his phone at the time of the crash, and hinted that his vehicle might have had steering problems.
Backing him up, defense attorney Paul Pfingst claimed that the aviation electrician -who works on helicopters at North Island Naval Air Station- passed two blood tests and two breathalyzer tests administered to him by law enforcement.
Families of the victims felt Sepolio was not being truthful, or at least had a selective memory about what had transpired. Seoplio argued that his memory was foggy- during the event, he had lost consciousness and bruised his lungs.
According to CBS8, Sepolio faces up to 23 years and eight months in prison if he is convicted of all charges.
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