Drugged Driver Who Killed Woman in Cathedral City Wreck Sentenced

Drugged Driver Who Killed Woman in Cathedral City Wreck Sentenced

Martín Di Felice

A drug-cocktailing driver who plowed into a woman’s car at 100 mph in Cathedral City, killing her and causing major head trauma to her teenage son, was sentenced Thursday to 22-years-to-life in state prison.

A Banning jury in September deliberated one day before finding 27-year- old Emanuele Trombini guilty of killing Caryn Clemente while driving under the influence of marijuana and a prescription anti-anxiety drug.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst imposed the sentence required by law.

Trombini’s second-degree murder conviction on Sept. 25 was the result of a retrial. The defendant’s first trial, last fall, resulted in convictions for two counts of driving under the influence of drugs resulting in great bodily injury or death. However, jurors deadlocked on whether to convict him of the murder charge, setting the stage for the second trial, which got underway at the end of August.

According to a trial brief filed by the prosecution, on the evening of Feb. 24, 2016, Trombini was driving 107 mph when he came upon Clemente’s Toyota Camry after the 50-year-old victim had exited a restaurant parking lot onto westbound Palm Canyon Drive. Trombini’s BMW 328i rear-ended the slower- moving car, causing it to roll over.

Clemente died in the middle of the street after a Cathedral City police sergeant cut her out of her mangled Toyota, which was leaking fuel, prompting fears it might explode. Her 16-year-old son, Peter, suffered traumatic brain injuries in the crash.

Peter required 56 staples to his head and continues to suffer from the damage inflicted on him in the crash, according to prosecutors.

The defendant suffered moderate injuries, along with his girlfriend, identified in court documents as “S.V.,” who was belted into the right front passenger seat of the BMW.

According to the brief, Trombini, an admitted habitual marijuana user, had begun his day “smoking weed.” When Cathedral City police officers questioned him, he did not deny lighting up, saying he had smoked three grams with S.V.

“Defendant did not think marijuana affected him, even though he classified the marijuana he consumed as the `bomb (expletive),”‘ the brief stated.

Toxicology tests also verified the presence of Xanax.

Trombini said he was addicted to fast driving, as reflected in multiple speeding citations he received in the six years prior to the deadly wreck, according to court papers.

He told investigators that he had once pushed his car to 160 mph while driving on a freeway between the Coachella Valley and Riverside.

“He expressed his addiction to racing as `a fetish, I get off to fast adrenaline,”‘ the brief said. “`I’m an athlete. Anything extreme where you risk your life — I like it.’ Defendant claimed he didn’t remember anything about the collision because … `I smoke weed and forget.’ Defendant stated `of course’ it is dangerous to drive fast after smoking marijuana. `It’s not smart, because you’re not at your full mind state.”‘

Several motorists were driving in the same direction as Trombini and witnessed him maneuvering erratically at speeds in excess of 100 on city streets, according to the prosecution.

He nearly sideswiped one driver and ran onto the center median in the area of Frank Sinatra and Palm Canyon drives, the brief stated.