ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The trial for a former Albuquerque police officer charged with vehicular homicide started Tuesday afternoon with the driver he hit taking the stand. Adam Casaus was off duty in February 2013 when investigators said he ran a red light on Paseo del Norte on his way home.
They said he broadsided Lindsey Browder’s SUV. Lindsey’s sister Ashley was killed. Lindsey was severely hurt, suffering a broken hip and pelvis.
On Tuesday, Browder took the stand. She testified that she doesn’t remember much from that night, but does remember waking up in a hospital.
“I remember being in pain, confused,” Browder said. “I didn’t know I was in an accident.”
Casaus claims he was chasing after a suspected drunk driver. However, he never called it into dispatch and prosecutors have said there was never any evidence that drunk driver existed.
Defense attorney John D’Amato argued Casaus saw a driver swerve and had a duty to try and stop him. D’Amato said he followed procedure that night. However, State prosecutor Guinevere Ice said he was reckless and speeding.
“The defendant said he was going about the speed, which is going to show up in crash reconstruction, which at point of impact was around 62 mph, you’re going to hear that evidence,” Ice said. “The speed limit in that area is 45.”
“The evidence will not show that he abandoned … any consideration for the safety of others,” D’Amato said. “He will tell you that as he approached the intersection he cleared it visually, he cleared it again, no traffic.”
The defense claims both Casaus and Browder were driving uphill and couldn’t see each other before the crash. He also implied that maybe Browder’s headlights weren’t on, or maybe she was on the phone. Investigators say the headlights were on – and there’s never been any evidence to suggest she was using her phone.
The jury also heard the first testimony to put Casaus’ story about a drunk driver in question.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Phil Gonzales, who investigated the crash, reviewed video from traffic cams at different intersections along Casaus’ route that night.
Gonzales testified that on the videos, there were no vehicles appearing to match what Casaus described, a dark sedan with long tail lights driving recklessly.
The trial is expected to last until sometime next week. Casaus was fired from APD a couple months after the crash.