Jury finds Portsmouth teen guilty of hitting women with car
PORTSMOUTH – A jury found a Portsmouth teen accused of hitting two women with his car guilty on Wednesday, after just half an hour of deliberations.
Remi Gross-Santos, who was 17-years-old at the time of the crash on June 12, 2014, was convicted on two counts of second-degree assault and transportation of alcohol by a minor. He was found not guilty of aggravated driving while intoxicated.
Gross-Santos fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into Karen Weinhold and Lisa Beaudry, who were walking along Ocean Boulevard in Hampton at approximately 7:15 a.m., after attending an all-night drinking party in Ipswich, Mass. Witnesses said Gross-Santos admitted to police that he had consumed five to seven beers, and a witness told the jury he took seven to eight shots of vodka and had a beer at the party.
Gross-Santos and friend Tyler Dewsnap tried to sleep off the alcohol before heading home, but Gross-Santos didn't lay down until 3:30 a.m., and had to be up early for a graduation rehearsal at Portsmouth High School.
County Attorney Patricia Conway told the jury Gross-Santos was selfish and reckless during closing arguments.
"Use your common sense. After a hard night of partying and drinking, you sleep two and a half hours and you're okay to drive?" Conway said.
Conway said the jury did not have to find that Gross-Santos was falling down drunk to believe he was driving under the influence at the time of the crash. A blood test that showed Gross-Santos had alcohol in his system registered at .017, under the .02 legal limit for minors.
But Conway could not bring up the breath test taken closer to the time of the crash, which registered a .03. His defense attorney, Andrew Cotrupi, convinced Judge William Delker to have that test thrown out prior to trial, and it was never admitted into evidence.
Conway said she was pleased with the verdict after it was returned.
"I am very happy about the conviction on the second-degree assault charges. I'm a bit disappointed about the aggravated DWI, bit I certainly respect the decision and I respect the process," Conway said.
Conway has been working with Weinhold and Beaudry for the last year. When she first met Weinhold, the woman was still in a rehabilitation center because of the number of traumatic injuries she suffered.
Gross-Santos will remain free on bail until his sentencing hearing, which is expected to be scheduled some time within the next 30 days. He faces a maximum sentence of 7 to 14 years in prison.
-Digital assistant Margaret O'Donnell contributed to this article.
Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.