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ER Doctor Testifies In Deadly Crash Trial

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4)- An emergency room physician testified in the trial of a woman accused in a crash that killed a Thornton family. He said she shouldn't drive until she was cleared by a neurologist.

Prosecutors said Monica Chavez was driving in February 2011 in Thornton when she lost control of her SUV, hit a median, went airborne and then landed on top of a pickup truck. Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their three boys were in the truck and were killed.

Chavez has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminally negligent homicide.

Dr. Brian Williams testified that he was 80 percent sure Chavez suffered from a seizure in 2006.

The interpretation of her medical records could determine the outcome of the charges she faces.

Williams said he told Chavez she needed to see a neurologist within five days of diagnosing her with a seizure in 2006. He also said he told her not to drive until she had been cleared.

"We don't send people home that are confused by the discharge procedures," said Williams.

The discharge paperwork is a point of contention, according to Chavez's defense attorney.

"Where does it say that she is supposed to follow up with a neurologist within five days?" asked Defense Attorney Megan Downing.

"It doesn't specifically say five days," said Williams.

"And it doesn't say with Dr. Chenneth Crosby anywhere on the document?" asked Downing.

"No, somehow that didn't get translated from my sheet to when the nurse entered all of this into the computer," said Williams.

Williams' testimony indicates the paperwork does indicate Chavez shouldn't drive until cleared by a neurologist.

Chavez's defense maintains the instructions weren't clear but she did follow up at her primary care physician's office the very next day.

Witnesses, including Chavez's family, took the stand on Tuesday.

Chavez cried when her 12-year-old daughter took the stand. The child testified about seeing her mother begin to shake at a stop light, say she couldn't breathe, and finally see her mother's leg press down on the gas pedal and their car careen across traffic, smashing into the SUV with the Stollsteimer family inside.

Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their children
Randy and Crystal Stollsteimer and their children (credit: CBS)

Chavez' husband, George Chavez, testified about the phone call his daughter made to him during and after the car crash.

"She was crying and scared, telling me that Monica was stiff, going fast in the car; she was scared," George Chavez said.

George Chavez told jurors even though his wife experienced two prior medical episodes -- one in 2006 and another in 2011 -- he never thought they were seizures, but rather fainting spells from exhaustion.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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