Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trial begins in death of motorcycle rider

NEW PORT RICHEY — The crash happened on the dark blacktop of U.S. 19, after 2 a.m. on Sunday, April 5, 2009.

A motorcycle heading north with a man driving and a woman on the back collided with a sport utility vehicle carrying three people.

The woman on the motorcycle, Nicole Cetrangolo, 37, was thrown off the bike and died. The driver, Ken Dillon, went to a hospital with serious injuries.

Months went by before authorities charged the SUV's driver, Deborah Terrero, with vehicular homicide, driving-under-the-influence manslaughter and DUI serious bodily injury. By then, she had moved to Upstate New York and found work as a substitute teacher.

Terrero's trial started Monday, and the seven-member jury will have to analyze the mechanics of the accident and whether Terrero's impairment level may have contributed to it.

Prosecutor Chris Jensen said Terrero, 55, had been at a bar on U.S. 19, north of State Road 52 in Hudson, with her cousins that night. She was drinking beer and shots of mango vodka, Jensen said. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.062 — below the level at which the state presumes impairment. She also had Xanax and methadone in her system, creating an intoxicating mix.

Dillon's blood was drawn at the hospital, Jensen said, and his alcohol level was "triple zeroes."

But Anett Lopez, Terrero's attorney, told jurors that Dillon's test was done four hours after the crash, and that he had admitted to paramedics having four drinks that night.

Terrero, she said, was prescribed the drugs she was taking by doctors, had never experienced side effects and was not abusing them.

What's more, Lopez said, the motorcycle actually struck the back of the Explorer — not the other way around.

"He hit her," Lopez said. "Who caused this accident? We believe it was the motorcycle driver."

Prosecutors, however, don't have to prove that Terrero caused the crash. They need only prove that she contributed to it, Jensen said.

If convicted as charged, Terrero could get up to 20 years in prison. The trial continues today.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at or (727) 869-6245.

Trial begins in death of motorcycle rider 05/02/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 10:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  2. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  3. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  4. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  5. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.