By Elizabeth F. McNamara
Barbara Trojan stood before Superior Court Magistrate John F. McBurney III and gave her name, birthday date, and address, the only words she shared Friday morning in a courtroom at Kent County Courthouse. Behind Trojan sat family and friends of Patty Daniels, all wearing “#JusticeforPatty” t-shirts bearing her likeness. Daniels died after Trojan allegedly crashed her car into the car Daniels was traveling in on Frenchtown Road just after midnight Sept. 7.
Trojan was charged with four felony counts, two for DUI and two for driving to endanger. Her blood alcohol level came back as .225 percent, more than two times the legal limit of .08 percent. Robert Testa, Trojan’s lawyer, entered her plea: not guilty.
Bail remains unchanged, $25,000 with surety ($2,500 down) and Trojan is still not allowed to drive. She was ordered to continue alcohol counseling and toxicology screenings.
“I just want justice. She shouldn’t be walking the streets. She gets to have Thanksgiving, Christmas,” said Roseanne Daniels, Patty’s sister, after the arraignment. “Here we are, depressed and sad.”
Patty Daniels had been at a wedding that Friday night, Sept. 6. She was in the backseat along with her boyfriend Bruce Bartels of a car driven by her sister, Donna Daniels. Donna had been the designated driver that night.
Trojan was driving home from American Legion Post 15 on Main Street, where she had spent several hours at the bar while her husband, John Bruskie, played cards. They had arrived in separate cars. Legion representatives said Trojan did not appear to be drunk when she left. Police seized as evidence the video surveillance footage taken inside the bar. The American Legion post has since turned in its liquor license because it was unable to get liquor liability insurance.
Trojan, of North Kingstown, was heading west on Frenchtown Road when she made an abrupt left turn into eastbound traffic, broadsiding the Daniels car. Neither Patty Daniels nor Bruce Bartels were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Both were hospitalized; Daniels died four days later.
“It was a horrible scene, a horrible scene. You can’t get it out of your head, that’s for sure,” said Donna Daniels on Friday.
Reagan Singh was also in court in support of Patty Daniels Friday. It had been her wedding Daniels and the others had attended.
“She is the definition of a generous person,” Singh said about Patty via Facebook messenger. “If I said I like the necklace she’s wearing, she’d take it off and give it to me with no questions asked. She was the most caring and giving person I’ve honestly ever been lucky enough to know.”
A sad footnote to this case is that Bruskie, Trojan’s husband, was found guilty of crashing his car while drunk, resulting in the death of a passenger in 1984. He served three years in prison.
Trojan is due back in court March 18.