Ervens Prudent took to the witness stand Thursday to admit that he drank a vodka-and-Sprite plus two champagne toasts during a wedding at the Coral Gables Country Club.
Despite blood test results, Prudent swore he wasn’t drunk that night. Instead, the DJ and musician insisted he fell asleep behind the wheel after a long day that included a funeral, a restaurant shift, errands and dancing at a friend’s wedding before driving off for home.
“I was doing the speed limit and then,” Prudent told jurors. “Next thing I remember is waking up at the hospital.”
But a witness noted Prudent was honking and changing lanes as he barreled down Southwest Eighth Street. The jury also saw video surveillance footage of the violent impact when Prudent’s Toyota Corolla plowed at a high rate of speed into Maria Martinez, 44, and Marlon Gutierrez, 34, who were stopped at a red light.
And three hours after the June 2013 crash, a test showed Prudent’s blood-alcohol-content level was still .115 — far over the legal limit of .08.
“You’re coming fast, beeping your horn repeatedly. Kind of difficult to do that if you’re asleep,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Lara Penn said during cross examination. “You managed to keep yourself driving, never drifting, never veering off the road, while you’ve fallen asleep?”
She asked: “Cars don’t just move on their own, correct? You have to hit the gas pedal, right?”
“Yes,” Prudent replied softly.
Prudent, 28, is charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter and two of vehicular manslaughter. Known as “DJ AOL,” he was studying at Miami Dade College and working at a Miami Beach hotel restaurant at the time. He spent several days in the hospital with injuries before his arrest.
“What happened was not willful,” defense lawyer Edward O’Donnell said. “He fell asleep, not due to alcohol but due to being tired.”
On Thursday, defense medical expert Dr. Ronald Wright testified that Prudent might not have been drunk based on the defendant’s recounting of what he drank that night. But during cross examination by prosecutor Denise Georges, the doctor admitted Prudent could indeed have been drunk by nearly twice the legal limit during the crash.
The trial is expected to conclude on Friday before Circuit Judge Miguel de la O.