Jun 16, 2015 12:00 AM
BRENTWOOD - A courtroom was divided again Tuesday during the criminal trial for a Portsmouth teenager who struck two women with his car last spring.
On one side, supporters of Karen Weinhold and Lisa Beaudry, who were both hospitalized because Remi Gross-Santos fell asleep and crossed the road, plowing into the Hampton duo during their morning walk on June 12, 2014.
On the other side, friends and family of Gross-Santos - who was 17-years-old at the time of the crash. He was driving on Ocean Boulevard to get to a rehearsal for his high school graduation.
"Remi's a great guy," Myles Onosko, a friend since middle school said. "He's a really gentle soul."
Onosko, like many on his side of the courtroom, think the two felony second-degree assault charges and the driving while intoxicated charge against Gross-Santos are overkill.
Evidence of blood-alcohol and breath tests for Gross-Santos immediately following the crash were thrown out by Judge William Delker last week.
Onosko said the crash was just an accident.
"I feel like the charges are unjust, and mainly, that alcohol was not a factor," Onosko said.
Sarah Brown, who knows Gross-Santos and his family well, said she feels like County Attorney Patricia Conway is using the case to earn political points.
"I mean, she's going for the jugular just to go for the jugular," Brown said. "This is a good person who has made a mistake. Who in the world has not made a mistake?"
Conway's position is an elected one.
Brown said Gross-Santos has regretted what happened for the last year. He was not able to attend the college of his choice, and he is now working in a restaurant, she said.
Gross-Santos told police he fell asleep at the wheel because he attended an all-night drinking party.
He admitted that he smoked marijuana twice before going, and that he consumed five to seven light beers between 10:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m.
Gross-Santos took a quick nap before getting back on the road, he said.
After the crash, police seized a water bottle with hard alcohol in it and a marijuana grinder from the blue Volvo Gross-Santos was driving.
Beaudry is not willing to comment on the case at this point.
Weinhold and other friends who were at the trial also declined an interview. But their lives were dramatically changed after the crash.
Weinhold was hospitalized for 99 days. She suffered a stroke and had 75 staples placed in her head to help her heal.
Beaudry suffered from multiple bone fractures. She was hospitalized for eight days.
The state rested its case Tuesday afternoon, after Weinhold and Beaudry testified.
Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.
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