Trial for ex-sergeant in fatal crash continues

Trial for ex-sergeant in fatal crash continues

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – On day two of a former APD sergeant’s vehicular homicide trial, witnesses relived the night in February 2013 when they watched a horrific crash unfold. Adam Casaus is facing nine years in prison for reckless driving in the crash.

Prosecutors say Casaus,  who was off-duty, sped, ran a red light at Paseo and Eagle Ranch Road, and crashed into a Honda SUV, killing Ashley Browder. Her sister, Lindsey, suffered a broken hip and pelvis. Michael Marthe was driving home from a movie when he witnessed the crash.

“I had a view of his car ahead of mine,” said Marthe. “As he got toward the light, it was red. I remember finding it curious that I hadn’t seen any brake lights come on. So I saw him approach the intersection and at that point, I saw the car spin.”

Leonard Silva, 16, was in another car when he witnessed the crash. His mother was driving him to a McDonald’s after a school dance when they found themselves at the same red light.

“I saw a car passing by on the left side of us, and I look up and then that’s when I saw the crash,” he testified.

Silva describes running to help and, seeing the police officer seemed to be okay, approached the Browder’s Honda.

“The passenger was, I wanted to believe she was unconscious just from the hit, so I just believed that and I made sure that nobody moved her,” he said. “The driver was really hurt, talking about her hip, crying, looking around.”

The defense says Casaus was going after a drunk driver that night, but both witnesses testified the only car to pass them around the time of the crash was the APD SUV. The defense tried to poke holes in the investigation. Adam Casaus’s attorney questioned an accident investigator.

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Phil Gonzales investigated the crash. He says he pulled traffic cameras from the surrounding area and couldn’t find any evidence of the car Casaus claims to have been pursuing.

When the defense got their turn with Gonzales, they asked about sketches and diagrams from the scene, which didn’t show up in a report.

John D’Amato, Casaus’ attorney, asked Gonzales if he looked at Casaus’ sirens to see if they were in working order. Gonzales did not. The defense says his emergency lights were on.

D’amato also asked about witnesses. Gonzales said he did not record any of the events or enter a report of what the witnesses said. The defense also questioned whether the headlights were on in the SUV the Browders were driving and asked about the visibility at that intersection. The investigator said he didn’t look into that.

The lead investigator of the crash will take the stand on Thursday.

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