Trial begins for accused drunken driver

Julie Ann Bronson leads guilty in accident that hurt two children, their mother

SAN ANTONIO - Prosecutors say that Julie Ann Bronson ran down a mother and two little girls in a fashionable north San Antonio suburb three years ago and then drove away, all while driving drunk.

On Tuesday, Bronson, 45, plead guilty to charges of intoxication assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

Bronson was leaving her home in the Rogers Ranch subdivision on the evening of April 23, 2009, investigators said.

According to her lawyer, she had consumed a bottle of wine and taken a sleeping pill before getting behind the wheel of her Mercedes convertible.

Her car jumped a curb and ran over 18-month-old Ava Lopez, her 3-year-sister and their mother. The three had been working in their yard at the Lopez family home.

“I saw her go up on the curb and at that point in time, one of her tires blew out and something happened. I could smell the rubber and hear it,” Jennifer Wiedenhoefer, the Lopez family' neighbor, testified. “Ava had her back turned and was hit so hard that her head hit the car as she flipped in the air."

Bronson continued driving on just the rims of her two left tires. She was arrested a few miles away and charged with intoxication assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

Though seriously injured, Ava Lopez is recovering from her injuries.

Bronson plead guilty to the charges against her.

The jury is now charged with determining her punishment. She is facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

In his opening statement, her lawyer, Pat Hancock, asked the jury for justice, mercy and for probation.

Testimony will continue on Wednesday in Judge Melissa Skinner’s 290th District Court.


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