Trial begins in March 2017 Silt vehicular homicide case
After seating a jury Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys made their opening statements in the felony vehicular homicide case against David Cavaliere stemming from a crash that killed two young motorcyclists in Silt last year .
Prosecutors with the 9th District Attorney’s Office have accused Cavaliere of reckless driving leading to the death of the two men, while his defense argued it was a tragic accident, but not vehicular homicide.
The crash occurred just after 7 p.m. on March 20, 2017, at the intersection of North First Avenue and Highway 6 in Silt. According to eye witnesses, Cavaliere was attempting to turn left onto First Avenue when he struck two oncoming motorcyclists head-on. The two motorcyclists Eduardo Medrano, 21, and Nathan Russo, 22, were ejected from their bikes and died from their injuries.
Deputy District Attorney Jill Edinger said in her opening statement that the two are dead because of the “reckless, wanton and woeful behavior” of Cavaliere’s driving.
“The impact of the tragedy on friends and family has been unimaginable,” Edinger said.
One of the witnesses to the incident took the witness stand Friday afternoon in the people’s case. Edinger said the evidence will show Cavaliere was reckless in his driving behavior.
However, Cavaliere’s attorney Molly Owens called the incident a terrible and tragic accident, but she said it was not vehicular homicide.
“It was a tragic accident, not a terrible crime,” she said.
Owens said the prosecution will have to prove that he consciously disregarded the rules of the road, and “that’s not what happened,” she said, adding that Cavaliere used his turn signal, slowed down before the turn, and simply did not see the motorcycles.
Officers who arrived on scene, as well as eyewitnesses and emergency medical personnel, all reported that Cavaliere told them he didn’t see the motorcyclists.
“He said over and over again that he didn’t see them,” she said.
She repeated multiple times that this was a tragic and terrible accident but not vehicular homicide.
During the investigation, questions were raised about whether the headlights on the motorcycles were working, and if the fact that neither rider was wearing a helmet contributed to their deaths.
After the opening statements, the prosecution began to call witnesses to the stand. The trial resumes Monday, as both the prosecution and defense will present their cases before a verdict is reached.
Vehicular homicide in Colorado is a class 4 felony, carrying a possible penalty if convicted of two to six years in prison, and up to $500,000 in fines.
The trial is scheduled to continue through this week, with the potential for a continuation into October.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.