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A 54-year-old Griswold man was arraigned on manslaughter and drunken driving charges Thursday stemming from an April 20, 2013, crash near the Brookside Cafe in Preston in which one man died and another was seriously injured.
Juan Davila of 77 Rixtown Road was charged by state police with second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, first-degree reckless endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and making a restricted turn.
Davila, who had posted a $200,000 bond following his March 28 arrest, pleaded not guilty before Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher in Norwich. He is represented by attorney Paul F. Chinigo and is due to return to court on May 15.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Davila was heading home at about 2 a.m. after meeting friends for drinks at Mohegan Sun. He was driving eastbound in his Ford F-250 pickup truck when, while attempting to negotiate the right-hand curve in the roadway, crossed the westbound lane and hit two parked cars before hitting the two men.
Lakendrick Horn, 28, of York, Ala., and Arnold Feaster, 48, of Gales Ferry were waiting for a taxi in the parking lot adjacent to the cafe. Horn, hit by the truck, was propelled across the parking lot and fell down a 150-foot embankment into Poquetanuck Cove, police said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy determined he died of blunt multiple traumatic injuries.
Feaster, who a witness said was sideswiped by the truck, landed on the ground and was conscious and alert at the scene. He was treated for lacerations to the head and face and injuries to his cervical spine, pelvis, left knee and shoulder.
Davila's blood alcohol level in a blood and urine sample taken at The William W. Backus Hospital about an hour after the crash was 0.145, according to the affidavit. The legal level for driving is 0.08. Davila, who had red eyes and the odor of alcohol on his breath, agreed to speak with Trooper Brian Fahey at the hospital but refused to provide a written statement, according to the affidavit. He stated he "wasn't sure" what happened in front of Brookside Cafe but was aware he was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
The investigation found that the left front brake line on Davila's truck was loose and leaking fluid, but Davila said nothing about faulty brakes and there was no oil sheen on the roadway, according to the affidavit. There was also no evidence to support that there were any pedestrians or vehicles in the roadway at the time of the accident, according to the affidavit.
Members of Horn's family, who are working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Suisman Shapiro law firm, attended the arraignment. Horn, a Navy sailor, was survived by a wife and two young children. His wife, Megan Horn, is also in the Navy and is stationed in San Diego but attended the arraignment along with Horn's mother and sister from Alabama.
Horn's survivors and Feaster have brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Davila, the Mohegan tribe and the bar owners, Landsdowne Pub LLC, Plan C LLC and Patrick Lyons.