Rebecca Grossman is accused of dashing by means of a Westlake crosswalk and barely making use of the brakes of her white Mercedes SUV earlier than slamming into two younger boys.

A former NASA scientist mentioned Wednesday at her homicide trial the Hidden Hills lady didn’t have time to slam on her brakes earlier than her airbags deployed. Stephen Casner additionally testified for the protection that it was “arduous to think about” that the kids weren’t first struck by a black Mercedes SUV that preceded Grossman by means of the crosswalk.

Grossman is accused of driving her Mercedes SUV at excessive speeds on a quiet Westlake Village avenue, carefully following the Mercedes pushed by her then-lover, former Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson, with whom she’d earlier had cocktails.

Investigators testified she was going 73 mph when she fatally struck 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother, Jacob, having tapped the brakes a second and a half earlier than the collision triggered her airbags.

Mark, left, and Jacob Iskander.

(Iskander household)

Casner, a human components knowledgeable who retired from NASA and writer of the ebook “Cautious,” concerning the psychology of security, mentioned research present “it takes rather a lot longer than 1.5 seconds for most individuals to slam on the brakes.”

He downplayed earlier testimony by an knowledgeable witness for the prosecution concerning the position of velocity within the tragedy. He faulted the information that had been cited and mentioned the testimony “was in all probability irrelevant.”

Casner was amongst a number of witnesses introduced in by protection attorneys as they sought to undercut the prosecution’s case in opposition to Grossman. She is charged with two counts of second-degree homicide, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one depend of hit-and-run driving leading to demise within the deadly collision.

Tony Buzbee, Grossman’s lead legal professional, has maintained from the outset of the trial that it was Erickson who struck the 2 boys, sending 11-year-old Mark vaulting into the trail of his shopper’s automobile.

As he questioned Casner, Buzbee mentioned there have been 4 key witnesses to the tragedy — the boys’ mom, Nancy Iskander, who dived along with her 5-year-old out of the trail of Erickson’s black AMG Mercedes; Susan Manners, who stood 12 ft away on the roadside; and two folks, Jake Sands and Yasamin Eftekhari, who witnessed the tragedy from a automotive.

Iskander testified she noticed Erickson’s automotive undergo the crosswalk and rescued her 5-year-old from its path earlier than seeing her older boys vanish after Grossman’s automobile went by means of. Manners mentioned she heard one influence after which she noticed Mark struck. Sands and Eftekhari described seeing Jacob hit. These witnesses have differed over which lanes the impacts occurred in.

“Is it potential to provide you with a coherent idea?” Buzbee requested Casner, who reviewed the witnesses’ testimony.

“I hear many various eventualities,” Casner replied.

Buzbee then organized two courtroom chairs to signify the black and white Mercedes SUVs. Portraying himself as Nancy Iskander, he approximated the situation of the kids.

“Is there any means the black automotive missed hitting the youngsters?” Buzbee requested.

“It’s arduous to think about that automotive getting by means of and other people simply standing there,” Casner replied.

Prosecutor Jamie Castro famous, nevertheless, that in an April report that was what Casner mentioned occurred. The previous NASA scientist acknowledged that he wrote that Erickson’s automobile handed by means of the crosswalk with out hitting anybody earlier than Grossman’s automobile entered it.

A white vehicle with a smashed hood and grille is parked alongside a road in the dark.

Rebecca Grossman’s Mercedes SUV is proven after the 2020 crash within the Westlake crosswalk.

(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division)

Casner mentioned that idea was primarily based on what he knew on the time.

Beneath questioning by Castro, Casner additionally conceded that in his ebook “Cautious,” he wrote that even a single alcoholic drink might have speedy results on an individual.

Following the deadly accident, Grossman examined at or barely beneath California’s authorized alcohol restrict, however investigators and criminalists have testified that she was impaired by a mix of alcohol and Valium. Grossman’s protection crew attacked that testimony.

A retired Houston detective sergeant, Donald Egdorf, testified for the protection, saying the sphere sobriety check accomplished on the collision scene “was an instance of what to not do,” providing a dissection of errors.

Egdorf, a drug and alcohol recognition knowledgeable, mentioned he had accomplished 1000’s of such investigations and that, primarily based on nearly all of proof together with the movies of her habits, Grossman was “not intoxicated or impaired” after the collision.

The witness additionally spoke to the general investigation, saying it could be regular to doc proof on the crash scene with a whole lot of photographs after which fastidiously collect proof for preservation. Jurors have already heard that objects together with two Mercedes emblems an investigator mentioned had been smashed off the entrance of Grossman’s Mercedes are lacking and never in proof.

Jurors additionally heard from a video knowledgeable, David Notowitz, who testified for the protection that — primarily based on a video from a house safety system — Grossman was going 52.7 mph after her Mercedes had traveled 202 ft from the crosswalk. That testimony appeared designed to undermine prosecution specialists who’ve testified the Mercedes 43 GLE AMG was going 81 mph earlier than Grossman braked barely earlier than influence.

Beneath cross-examination, Notowitz admitted he couldn’t say how briskly Grossman was going whereas within the crosswalk. Buzbee, nevertheless, questioned how his shopper’s automotive might gradual so quickly in such a brief distance: “We don’t have a digital camera for that, however we do have is frequent sense.”


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