Fatal Drunken Driving Case Set For Trial

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David Goddard of Payson finds it sadly ironic that Jan. 17, 2006 has been selected as the start of a trial for the driver accused of killing his wife, son and stepson.

"Interestingly enough, it is exactly one day after what would have been William's 14th birthday," he said.

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Family members Simon Bergland, Pernilla Goddard and William Goddard were killed July 24 when an SUV driven by Rigoberto Arrazola struck their vehicle on Highway 87. A blood test taken more than three hours after the accident confirmed that Arrazola was driving under the influence of alcohol. Officials estimate Arrazola's blood alcohol content was possibly as high as .125 when the collision occurred.

William Goddard was killed July 24 after a sport utility vehicle driven by Rigoberto C. Arrazola, 31, of Phoenix drove through the intersection of the Bush Highway and Highway 87 and collided with a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by David Goddard.

Following the collision, William Goddard was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, where he later died.

David Goddard's wife, Pernilla Goddard, 39, and stepson, Simon Pallin Bergland, 14, were killed instantly.

Arrazola faces three charges of manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault and four counts of endangerment.

A trial management conference, originally scheduled to be held Dec. 5, was postponed until 8:30 a.m. Jan. 3 in Superior Court. The trial is to begin at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 17, with Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon presiding.

The trial was originally on the calendar for Dec. 12, but was postponed at the prosecutor's request.

Following the accident, Department of Public Safety officers obtained a search warrant to draw blood from Arrazola.

The DPS specimen findings show the suspect's blood was .080 percent alcohol, or the exact legal minimum needed to charge a driver with driving impaired.

Goddard has been told, however, the BAC was probably much higher at the time of the accident, but in the length of time it took to obtain a search warrant to draw blood from Arrazola -- probably more than three hours -- the alcohol concentration dropped significantly.

DPS Sgt. Dennis Isaacson said that alcohol in the human body dissipates at a rate of .015 percent per hour.

This means that if Arrazola's blood specimen was not taken until three hours after the accident, his BAC was possibly .125 when the collision occurred about 7:30 p.m.

Arrazola was jailed after the July 24 accident and is being held in Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail with bond set at $180,000.

He has pleaded not guilty.

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