More accident reconstruction testimony at Hastings trial | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 21, 2013

More accident reconstruction testimony at Hastings trial

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 4:26 PM

David Koon reports (for earlier coverage, go here):

After lunch, the defense put on Dale Donham, an accident reconstructionist who worked for Arkansas State Police for 17 years and now works for the Saline County Sheriffs office. Donham was hired by the defense in February.

Donham testified that he ran tests at Silver Lake Appartments with two 2011 Hondas — one a two-door, one a four-door. He also looked at the Honda the victim was driving at the impound garage.

In tests with the two-door, he drove the car up on the rocks, confirming that was possible. He was able to drive the car up over the cub slowly onto the rocks as far as to the driver's door with the back wheels still on the pavement "3 or 4" times. He testified that in one test, he instructed the driver to bump the car into neutral once the car was on the rocks. During that test, the car rolled off the rocks and down the driveway to near the point of impact with Camaro.

During nighttime testing, Donham said he drove the car onto the rocks twice at under 15 mph. "You can hear it as it goes on the rocks," he testified. "It does scrape, but there's not major damage."

Donham said he examined the Honda driven by Bobby Moore and found scratches to the bumper and undercarriage, and some pine straw in areas of the undercarriage. He said that some scratches found on the test cars after his tests were similar to scratches he found on the Honda's bumper and undercarriage.

Donham further testified that though the damage to the test car bumper seen in pictures looks like "a pretty good gouge," it was actually just "into the wax." He said that damage to one test car's front tow hook was identical to the damage to the tow hook on Moore's Honda. Donham said his own examination of the scene found some "un-nested" rocks, and rocks that appear to have been moved from their original locations. He stated that police were "going out there looking for stuff that would normally be found at a crime scene. I'm going out looking for stuff normally found at an accident."

Donham discussed "looming": how a car coming straight at you can make it very hard to determine the speed of the car. He said that could account for JH's inability to accurately estimate speed of Moore's Honda on the night of the shooting.

Before James finished with him, Donham said he believes it's possible that the Moore's Honda could have been driven onto the rocks, and that he believes evidence he saw at the scene and on the car's undercarriage shows that's what happened.

After a break, the prosecution will cross examine Donham.

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