DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The prosecution has rested just two days into the trial of Abby Michaels at the Montgomery County Courthouse.
During the second day of the trial, both the prosecution and defense attorneys agreed on several facts relating to the fatal crash that took place on I-75 on St. Patrick’s Day 2019.
Both sides took turns questioning former Montgomery County Coroner Russell Uptegrove regarding the autopsies and causes of death of Timmy Thompson, 51; Karen Thompson, 50; and their 10-year-old daughter, Tessa Thompson. Uptegrove reiterated that they were killed by the blunt-force trauma suffered in the crash.
Det. Sgt. John Howard with the Moraine Police Department was also called to the stand to testify about the crash reconstruction he performed in 2019. Howard testified that the reconstruction indicated the crash was head-on.
As part of his testimony, Howard related how the Event Data Recorders in the two vehicles — akin to the “black boxes” in airplanes — had been crushed and destroyed. Data from the recorders had to be downloaded to be salvaged.
According to Howard’s testimony, the Engine Throttle Percentage of Michaels’ Kia went from zero (no gas at all) to 100 (gas pedal floored) for a second as she turned onto I-75. The throttle returned to zero for the last second before impact.
The prosecution rested its case shortly before noon after only about three hours of testimony
Michaels has pleaded not guilty to six counts of murder and three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths.
The trial resumes 1:30 p.m. Wednesday with the defense.
Good morning! We’re at the Montgomery County Courthouse for Day 2 of the Abby Michaels trial. (Thread) pic.twitter.com/8klvSLEOcf— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Russel Uptegrove, Hamilton County Coroner, has been called to the stand. Uptegrove performed the autopsies on the family killed in the crash on St. Patrick’s Day 2019.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Sgt. John Howard with the Moraine Police Department was called to the stand. Howard performed crash reconstruction for the 2019 incident.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Traffic had stopped on I-75 South without police assistance, Howard noted as he recalled the scene. He was a Road Patrol Officer for Moraine at the time.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
“Vehicles rarely end up where the crash took place.” Howard walked the prosecution through the process of investigating a crash scene. According to Howard, multiple “road scars” helped determine the accident location.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Howard also examined the Event Data Recorders or ‘black boxes’ from the two vehicles involved. “All the mechanical systems were crushed or damaged or destroyed,” he said.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
OSHP Sgt. Eiden assisted with downloading the data from the recorders.
The Kia driven by Michaels was going nearly 45 mph at the time of the crash, according to the Event Data Recorder (EDR). This and other information was used to plot the path of each vehicle in the five seconds leading up to the crash.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
The Engine Throttle Percentage indicated that Michaels allegedly went from 0 or no gas to 100, or pushed the gas pedal to the floor for about a second as she turned right onto I-75 South. In the last second before impact, the throttle returned to zero.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
The court is taking a brief pause at the prosecution’s request.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
The court session resumed with Det. Sgt. Howard still on the witness stand.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Defense: “Steering input does not necessarily mean driver input, is that fair to say?”— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Howard: “It usually does but yes.”
Dankoff sustained an objection after the defense asked Howard if the Kia’s continued acceleration could have indicated a potential medical condition. According to Dankoff, Howard is not qualified as a medical expert.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Defense: “In the end what you have done is present a lot of data points from the event data recorder in the Kia. … And data points from an EDR do not tell us anything whatsoever as to what was going on in that vehicle with the operator of that vehicle.”— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
Howard: “That is true.”
Howard explained to the prosecution that an automatic stability control system engaged at 4.5 seconds before the crash, but was inactive between then and the collision. This system engages when the car is at risk of spinning or other instability.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023
11:59 a.m.: The prosecution has rested its case. The court will take a recess until 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.— WDTN (@WDTN) June 6, 2023