Palmetto woman arrested in connection with fatal crash

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 20, 2012 

MANATEE -- A Palmetto woman was arrested early Monday on DWI charges in connection with the death of a passenger who was riding in her car during a traffic accident last spring.

Teri Conde, 29, of the 400 block of Sixth Avenue West, Palmetto, was charged with one felony count of manslaughter and three counts of driving while intoxicated with injury to a person or property, according to Dave Bristow, a spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

She was being held without bond at the Manatee County Jail, he said.

The charges were filed in connection with an April 22 accident that killed her front-seat passenger, Venustiano Trujillo Mendez, according to court documents.

The accident occurred when a 2002 Ford Explorer that Conde was driving left the road, overturned and struck a house in the 1000 block Seventh Avenue East, Bradenton, court documents said. The vehicle was travelling about 45-55 mph in a 35 mph zone, court papers said.

A laboratory report found Conde's blood-alcohol content was 0.142 percent, well over the legal limit of 0.08, court records said.

The accident occurred at approximately 2:40 a.m. when the vehicle slid across State Road 64 and left the roadway, court documents said.

Conde, who was wearing a seat belt, was trapped in the vehicle, while Mendez

was thrown from the front passenger seat toward the driver's side rear window, which was down, court documents said.

Although witnesses said Mendez was able to crawl out of the vehicle with help, he later died at Blake Medical Center from his injuries, court papers said.

Conde told an investigator Mendez was her boyfriend, and that they had been at a Palmetto nightclub, court papers said.

"Ms. Conde made a spontaneous utterance about drinking excessively, and stated she was the only one with a driver's license, so she drove," the investigator wrote.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter

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