The driver of a vehicle involved in a two-car crash that took five lives near Annandale in November was well beyond the point at which motorists are considered intoxicated, a Virginia state pathologist testified yesterday.
The blood alcohol level of Jonathan P. Reinemer, 19, charged with manslaughter in the crash, was probably between .18 and .22 of 1 percent, said medical pathologist William F. Enos. His estimate was based on results of hospital laboratory tests performed on a sample of Reinemer's blood showing a level of .12 six hours after the crash.
Any motorist with a blood alcohol level exceeding .10 is considered by Virginia police to be intoxicated.
Enos was one of several persons who testified at a preliminary hearing on the charges in Fairfax County General District Court. The case is scheduled to be heard by a county grand jury next Tuesday. If convicted, Reinemer could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.
The crash gained widespread notoriety when it was discovered that two of its victims -- one who survived and one who died in the emergency room of Fairfax Hospital -- had been mis-identified. As a result, one of the bodies was mistakenly cremated by a family who thought their daugther was dead when she was really lying unconscious in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Before certifying the case to the grand jury, Judge Robert M. Hurst also heard testimony from two witnesses to the crash, friends of Reinemer and of three young Northern Virginians who were riding with him and who were killed.
Both testified that they had spent parts of the evening of the crash drinking beer with Reinemer at a deserted location near the Capital Beltway known as the "power lines." Later, they said, they met Reinemer and one of the crash victiims, Wallace Simpson, 18, at the Loehman's Plaza shopping center, where they learned of a (beer) keg party near Little River Turnpike and Hummer Road.
After leaving the party, they said, Reinemer passed them in the inside lane of Annandale Road in the curve where the crash occurred. They said they saw Reinemer's car shimmy sideways and cross the yellow line before being struck by another car being driven in the opposite direction by Lawrence O'Brien, 22.
O'Brien and one of his two passengers also were killed.
One of the witnesses said he spoke to Reinemer at the scene and that Reinemer "asked us if he f----- up and we said yes. He wanted to know how everyone was."