Andres Perkins, 21, was a pedestrian when he was killed on Feb. 24, 2018 at 2:44 a.m. on I-5 near the Old Town exit.
The driver, Corundolus Demone Toussaint, 39, is on trial in San Diego Superior Court for committing a hit and run in a traffic fatality. According to testimony, he picked up a woman in Mission Beach, got on the freeway and perhaps was distracted before he somehow struck the student.
“In the blink of an eye, everything can change,” said attorney Manuel Avitia III in his opening statement to the seven man, five woman jury, two alternate jurors, and Judge Paula Rosenstein.
“At 2:43 or 2:44 a.m., Mr. Toussaint blinked,” said Avitia. “Mr. Perkins blinked as well.”
Avitia said Toussaint was “confused and disoriented” after the collision, which left the vehicle’s license plate at the scene. He did not say why Toussaint continued driving.
Toussaint was driving his girlfriend’s 2004 Honda and he kept driving until he parked – and then abandoned the bloodstained vehicle at a Shell gas station at 2521 Pacific Highway.
The jury was shown surveillance camera footage showing another woman in a pink sweater who was with Toussaint and they left the vehicle there.
“When he regained composure, he walked into law enforcement (HQs),” said Avitia, who said he surrendered to the CHP office two days later after “he opened his eyes.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Perkins’ (eyes) did not,” concluded Avitia.
California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Cavataio testified he was the first one to respond to a 911 call of a body in the traffic lane.
“I could see he suffered fatal injuries,” said Cavataio. “I could see he had a broken leg, major head trauma.”
Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy said Perkins “died very quickly and almost instantaneously” when struck.
Lucas Romero, 23, was Perkins’ college roommate and friend and was the first witness. He said he had lived with him from “2015 until he passed.”
CHP officers found the license plate in the road and went to the home of Toussaint’s girlfriend near Temecula as the car was registered to her. She told officers he had gone to San Diego that day, but she was unable to contact him since.
Toussaint has pleaded not guilty. He may testify, his lawyer said. He remains in jail on $140,000 bail.