Dana Lowry remembers nothing about the death last year of a 19-year-old good Samaritan for which she is being tried, she testified in Vista Superior Court Wednesday.
The 25-year-old daughter of a prominent Fallbrook developer said she had been drinking red wine the night of Aug. 15 and finished a telephone conversation with a close friend before changing into her bedtime clothes and preparing to go to sleep.
The next thing she remembers is being in jail for the death of Thomas Anderlik, Lowry testified.
She doesn't remember having gotten so drunk as to register a .25 blood-alcohol level, and then getting into her 1987 Saab and driving north onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 15 near Fallbrook.
Nor does she remember sideswiping a truck on the freeway off-ramp and coming to rest in the middle of the freeway lanes with her headlights facing toward on-coming traffic.
She can't remember getting out of her car and slowing the light, midnight traffic, or Anderlik, who was visiting the area from Washington state, eventually pulling over and getting out to help her.
She does recall a "glimpse" of a blond man next to her on the freeway, but she doesn't know if that is reality or her imagination, she testified.
Finally, she doesn't recall Anderlik being pinned to her Saab by an oncoming Cadillac, killing him. The driver of the Cadillac, Henry Preiss of Ramona, was not cited.
Lowry is being tried for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in connection with Anderlik's death and could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison if convicted.
Friends and co-workers of Lowry testified Wednesday that, on the night of the accident she had been upset about recently having to quit her job or be laid off, about having troubles with her boyfriend, moving from her Leucadia apartment back to her parents' Fallbrook home and undergoing surgery to remove a precancerous growth on her cervix.
"I was trying to hold my life together, and I thought I was keeping it together. . . . I was just trying to be strong, and I wasn't," Lowry testified tearfully.
"I have tried very hard to piece together what happened, and I have no memory of it."
She also testified that she has blacked out as a result of alcohol abuse on other occasions, and a psychiatrist who began treating her after the August accident described her as an alcoholic.