Trial begins for Bedford woman accused of drunk driving crash that killed her son

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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Jurors in Bedford County will have to decide this week whether a Bedford County mother was drunk when she caused a crash that killed her son.

Emily Aponte, as seen in a Bedford County court room April 26, 2016.

Emily Aponte is on trial to face charges of driving under the influence, child abuse, and involuntary manslaughter.

As witnesses testified Monday about the crash that led to her son's death, Aponte was seen trembling and appearing to wipe away tears.

On April 26, 2014, prosecutors say Aponte crossed the center line on Quarterwood Road in Montvale and hit another car. Her six-year-old son, Ethan, was in the back seat.

The crash happened right outside Connie Letchford's house.

"I heard a great big boom," testified Letchford, who told jurors that Aponte begged her not to call 911 when she walked up and offered to help after the crash.

"She said please don't call. I've been drinking," Letchford explained through tears.

Minutes later, as Aponte's son remained lifeless in the back seat, Lectchford said she watched Aponte remove several beer cans from her car.

"She said 'I have to get rid of this.' She took it over my property line and threw it in the wooded area," Letchford described.

Aponte's defense attorney said his client drank alcohol the night before the accident, but by the time the crash happened around 3 p.m. the next day she was no longer intoxicated.

"She was stone cold sober!" exclaimed defense attorney Dirk Padgett, who said his client consumed alcohol after the crash to calm her nerves.

Prosecutors said Aponte's blood alcohol level four hours after the crash was .176, more than double the legal limit.

While Aponte told officers at the scene she'd been drinking, Padgett said a state trooper's initial report said alcohol was not involved in the crash.

"Was she drunk? Listen very carefully to the state troopers on the scene!" Padgett told jurors Monday.

Aponte's trial is expected to last three days. Defense attorneys have indicated that she will likely take the stand in her own defense.