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Testimony: Irvine cheerleader was breathing after car wreck

Police and forensic experts are among those who testify at preliminary hearing for Austin Jeffrey Farley, accused in a DUI crash that killed Ashton Sweet.

October 06, 2011|By Lauren Williams

Two forensics experts from the county crime lab testified that Farley had a blood alcohol level of .20 — about 2 1/2 times the legal limit — and a detectable level of two anti-anxiety medications in his system.

The testimony indicated that the prescription drugs can magnify the effects of alcohol.

Defense attorneys, however, contended that the blood was tested days after the crash and may have cultivated bacteria, which could produce additional alcohol and alter an accurate reading.

Farley sat stiff and attentive as prosecutors presented their evidence against him. About 10 friends and family members — including Sweet's mother, Elizabeth Sweet, and stepfather David Pidcock — were in attendance, as well as a Mothers Against Drunk Driving representative.

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The hearing took place on what would have been the eve of Sweet's 15th birthday. To honor her memory, friends and family members are expected to go to a small celebration Friday at the tree planted in her memory at the intersection where she was killed, eat cupcakes and drink coffee.

Farley is next set to appear in court at 9 a.m. Oct. 17, in Santa Ana's Central Justice Center, Courtroom C-5.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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