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Jurors in the trial of Jamie Pacheco went to the railroad overpass yesterday where the East Toledo man is accused of tossing a steel plate, shattering the windshield of a car, and killing the driver.
A charter bus took the Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury to the Norfolk Southern railroad overpass that Dorothy Minggia was driving under when the 24-pound plate crashed through her windshield.
In the presence of prosecutors, Mr. Pacheco's attorney, and police detectives, the jurors examined the bridge from South Ravine Parkway below. Mr. Pacheco is accused of tossing the plate from the bridge, hitting the car of Ms. Minggia, 42, and breaking her neck.
A court bailiff directed the panel's attention to the distance from the structure's concrete railing to the street below.
Mr. Pacheco, 21, of 2018 Price St., is charged with murder in the Oct. 14 incident. He is also charged with felonious assault and vehicular vandalism for an unrelated rock-throwing incident on I-280.
He is being held in the county jail.
Andrew Lastra, an assistant prosecutor, and the defendant's attorney, John Thebes, were expected to give opening statements when the trial resumes this morning in the courtroom of Judge Gary Cook.
Mr. Lastra and Mr. Thebes spent most of the day questioning prospective jurors, and settled on the group of 12 jurors and two alternates at about 4 p.m. The trial is expected to last through Thursday.
Ms. Minggia, the mother of two, had just finished her nursing job shift at Lutheran Home on Wheeling Street when the steel plate shattered her windshield and struck her in the face and chest.
She was pronounced dead at St. Charles Mercy Hospital.
The steel plate, used to anchor rails to ties, was dropped nearly 25 feet from the overpass. After she was struck, Ms. Minggia continued westbound some 150 yards through a stop sign at Dearborn Avenue before running into a utility pole on the opposite side of the road.
The jurors were also asked to view the utility pole at South Ravine and Dearborn, west of the bridge.
Mr. Pacheco and two others who were present for the incident were arrested the next day after police received a tip on the Crime Stopper hot line.
Michael Manning, of the Price Street address, pleaded guilty on May 26 to two counts of vehicular homicide in two unrelated incidents. He has not been sentenced.
A 14-year-old boy who was with the pair was found delinquent of felony vandalism and was sent to a state Department of Youth Services facility.
Manning, 21, who reportedly told Mr. Pacheco not to drop the plate, is among the witnesses prosecutors plan to have testify.
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