MAYS LANDING — Jurors got to see and hear the car that fatally struck an Egg Harbor Township teenager in 2010 as the defense in William Simkins Jr.'s vehicular homicide case opened Thursday afternoon.
Simkins, 33, also of the township, is accused of chasing down three teens after one vandalized his mother's car, fatally striking Jacob Broschard at about 2 a.m. Sept. 6, 2010. He left the scene, turning himself into police about two hours later.
Several witnesses have testified about hearing the car accelerate and then a thud as Broschard was struck.
The defense has contended their is no evidence that Simkins chased after the boys, and that Broschard veered into Simkins' path as he rode his bike around a parked car.
Defense attorney Lou Barbone had made a motion to allow the jurors to hear the car for themselves, which Superior Court Judge Michael Donio allowed Thursday, after acting First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton rested her case.
The state's car expert, Tom McNamara, started the car outside and jurors were brought out along with Donio, both attorneys and others, including a few family members the judge allowed to witness the demonstration. He then pressed down on the accelerator with the car in park to show what it sounded like, and then switched the car into drive as it idled. Then back to park. He never moved the car.
Jurors also were allowed to walk around the car to see that damage, which included a large dent to the front passenger side near the headlight, and a round crack in the lower left corner of the windshield, where testimony indicates Broschard hit first before being thrown.
The defense will call its first witness Monday. Barbone has not yet announced whether Simkins will take the stand.
Donio told jurors the trial is ahead of schedule, and closings could be as early as Tuesday, with deliberations possibly starting by Wednesday.
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