SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who survived a rollover crash in which three fellow passengers were killed after a night of drinking testified Wednesday that the driver was going too fast and sped up and laughed when they asked him to slow down just before he lost control of the SUV.
Trevor Rodgers, 26, testified as a preliminary hearing got underway for William Cady, who is charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury.
Rodgers testified that Cady, 25, acted "really irrational" and "psychotic" when passengers in the defendant's 2000 Cadillac Escalade asked him to slow down as he made the transition from northbound Interstate 805 to westbound state Route 52 at 11:15 p.m. last Jan. 10.
"He (Cady) said,"I'll drive this (expletive) car however the (expletive) I want," Rodgers said, adding that he didn't think Cady grasped the severity of the situation.
The next thing he knew, Rodgers said, the vehicle was going sideways, everything went dark and he woke up in a hospital.
Rodgers, who was not wearing a seatbelt that night, was treated for a broken jaw, leg, pelvis and ankle, and facial lacerations.
California Highway Patrol Officer Brad Clinkscales testified that he visited Cady in the hospital on Jan. 13 and left a digital recorder in the room after the patient declined to talk to him.
On the tape, Cady was heard saying he couldn't believe he killed three people and that he would surely spend many years in prison, the officer said.
"Oh my God, my life is over," Cady said on the recording. "I've done it to myself. Why? I'm a bad person. I hate cars. Cars are no good."
At Cady's arraignment, prosecutor Makenzie Harvey said the defendant and five companions were drinking at a friend's house, then at a bar in Clairemont Mesa the night of Jan. 10.
A bartender eventually told the group that they were in no condition to drive and gave them resources to take a cab home. But the men bought more alcohol at a grocery store, then made their way to a second bar and were kicked out of that establishment for being too rowdy, the prosecutor said.
Cady lost control of the SUV, causing it to veer off the road and overturn, according to the CHP. Three other vehicles following the SUV then crashed, as well.
Four of the five men riding in the Escalade were hurled out as it rolled side-to-side several times, CHP public-affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said. Two of them -- Taylor Bednarski, 29, and Shon Gilliam, 23, both of San Diego -- died at the scene.
A third passenger, 35-year-old Jeffery Becker of Kern County, died in the crumpled vehicle. He was the only person in the SUV wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the Highway Patrol.
Paramedics took Cady and the surviving passengers to hospitals for treatment of serious trauma. Two other motorists involved in the chain-reaction accidents were treated for minor injuries.
At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, Judge Lorna Alksne will decide whether enough evidence was presented for Cady to proceed to trial.