Video shot by News 12 capturing Evelyn Rodriguez’s death played at trial
Prosecutors in the Ann Marie Drago trial entered into evidence the video shot by a News 12 crew in September 2018 that captured Evelyn Rodriguez’s death.
The graphic video shows an SUV driven by Drago running over Rodriguez, the mother of Kayla Cuevas - one of two teens allegedly killed by MS-13 in 2016.
In the video, Rodriguez and Rodriguez' longtime partner, Freddie Cuevas, are seen yelling at Drago, who was in the driver’s seat of her running car. The argument was over a memorial they had set up that Drago started to take down.
Prosecutors explained why Drago was taking down the memorial, saying that her mother – who lived on that street – was trying to sell her home. She thought the memorial would hurt the chances of a sale, since the street is where two teenaged girls were found after allegedly being killed by members of MS-13.
There was a scream from someone in the courtroom audience the moment the video shows Rodriguez being run over. Several jurors were wiping tears away from their eyes. Drago had her face in her hands through much of the video.
A vigil was being planned for that evening, since it was the two-year anniversary of Rodriguez's daughter's death.
Drago is charged with criminally negligent homicide for running over Rodriguez. Her attorney says the argument made her fearful for her life and she was trying to get away.
“The video is going to show the moment where the car moves forward slowly. Everybody can make up their own mind about it, but you will see she does not step on the gas as the prosecution states in the opening statement,” says attorney Stephen Kunken. “She does not gun the engine. She moves the car slowly like you would if you were stopped at a stop sign and started to move the car forward.”
Prosecutors say Drago could have called 911 if she was afraid during the argument. Instead they say she made the wrong decision.
The trial continues on Monday.