CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Suffolk County jury heard Tuesday from the passenger inside the car that fatally ran over Evelyn Rodriguez that he thought the path was safe to drive away.

Mace Scanlon had a front-row seat to a deadly encounter when his then-fiance, Annmarie Drago, allegedly ran over Rodriguez, reports CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

On the stand, he testified he was fearful of Rodriguez and her partner Freddy Cuevas “yelling and banging” at the scene.

“They spit, they banged on windows, on the doors, and pulled the door handles,” he said. “After Evelyn was no longer in front of the car and Freddy was in the back, she took her foot off the brake and the car started to go.”

The confrontation was recorded by News 12 covering a vigil planned on the two-year anniversary of the couple’s daughter’s murder by MS-13 gang members.

The parents were irate their memorial was torn down. In the video, they are not seen touching the car.

Dragos’ attorneys say she perceived the threat.

“She was scared to death, feared for her life,” said defense attorney Stephen Kunken. “She felt it was safe to get away. Mace said when he looked, he didn’t see anybody in front of the car.”

MORE: Spouse Of Evelyn Rodriguez Testifies During Accused SUV Driver’s Murder Trial

Nor did Drago see anything wrong with taking down a memorial for murder victim.

Scanlon testified he had cleaned up “garbage” from vigils “more than a dozen times over two years.”

“No one ever goes back and cleans them up,” he said.

Trying to sell Drago’s mother’s house with a prospective buyer coming, a realtor told them “they had to clean up the property,” said Scanlon.

It was Drago who threw it all in the trash.

“To her, this did not represent the type of memorial that Evelyn and Freddy had meant it to be,” Kunken said.

While she may not take the stand, the jury heard Drago’s words from grand jury testimony.

She moved the car after “I see it’s safe and it’s clear.”

“I’m very, very sorry for the family of Mrs. Rodriguez,” she is heard saying. “It was never my intention for the day to turn out as it did.”

Cuevas sees it another way.

“Absolutely it was intentional. If you see somebody in front of your vehicle and you gas forward,” he said.

Early next week, the defense plans to call psychological experts about what Drago perceived.

The jury could get the case by the middle of next week. Drago faces up to four years in prison if convicted.


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