MAYS LANDING -- The defense in the Antonio Vargas trial opened Wednesday with three witnesses questioned in regard to whether Vargas was the driver or passenger in 2011's fatal Somers Point accident.

Defense attorney Lou Barbone called an emergency room doctor, an EMT who responded to the crash that killed Kevin Botta and a Somers Point police captain.

The testimony highlighted discrepancies in the reports filed by doctors and first responders about whether Vargas was the driver or passenger, a crucial point in the case.

Vargas, 24, is charged with eight criminal counts, including aggravated manslaughter. The prosecution believes Vargas was driving, but the defense is making the case that he was the passenger.

The defense will continue with four more witnesses on Thursday, and final arguments are expected Monday.

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.