Trial begins to determine whether intoxicated driver caused cyclist’s death
Few facts are in dispute in the trial of Julie Broze.
The prosecution and defense agree that Broze was driving the car that hit and killed Scott Adams on June 2, 2018. They also agree she had been drinking that night.
What they strongly disagree on — and what a jury will have to determine — is whether or not she caused his death.
“This case is a tragedy; Scott Adams lost his life,” public defender Scott Troxell said in the opening arguments for the trial.
Broze, 51, was driving north-bound and hit Adams as he crossed South Glen Avenue at the 27th Street light on a bicycle around 11:30 p.m.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that Adams, then 54 and a longtime homeless resident of Carbondale, did not use a pedestrian walkway to cross the street and wore dark clothing that night.
Deputy district attorney Zac Parsons pointed out that several other cars were able to see Adams and avoid hitting him.
“You’re going to learn that the sober driver stopped, but Ms. Broze didn’t,” Parsons told the jury in his opening statement.
Troxell said there was no way Broze could be expected to see Adams, who was crossing the street without making any attempt to avoid oncoming traffic.
In the opening arguments, Troxell said Adams was under the influence, which contributed to him being unaware of his surroundings. Parsons objected to the characterization that Adams was intoxicated.
Despite having consumed both alcohol and THC, Broze was driving normally, except for perhaps speeding, and was not weaving or leaving her lane, Troxell said.
There are four pieces of video evidence in the case. An Uber driver happened to be at the intersection at the time of the crash, and captured most of it on a dashboard camera.
In the dashcam video showed to the jury Wednesday, the Uber driver approached the 27th street intersection heading south on Highway 82 while the light was red. As the driver was slowing down, the light turned green.
As the light turns green, Adams is seen on a bicycle crossing 82. He goes in front of one car, which stops, and the Uber driver in the left-hand lane also pressed the brake abruptly when Adams comes into view around the other car.
Adams continues riding across the intersection, and Broze’s car, heading north, apparently strikes him just outside the camera’s field of vision.
The Uber driver “slammed on his brake to avoid hitting him, while Broze did something different,” Parsons said.
Adams was pronounced dead at Valley View Hospital a few hours after the collision, in the early hours of June 3.
Broze, who was taken into custody after the incident, called a friend from the Garfield County jail around 9 or 10 a.m. June 3, 2018.
In the recorded call, played for the jury Wednesday, Broze told the friend that it was a hit and run, and that the truck which struck Adams fled the scene.
“From out of nowhere this guy falls out of the sky onto my windshield,” Broze told her friend in the brief call.
The jury will also view video from three security cameras of a nearby business that show portions of the accident.
Troxell said that there was a bicycle light found at the scene, but one video angle “makes it clear that (Adams) is simply not visible.”
Parsons argued that the other drivers were able to stop in time, implying that if Broze would not have collided with Adams if she hadn’t been drinking.
“The sober driver stopped. Ms. Broze drank, she drove, and she caused the death of Mr. Adams,” Parsons said.
Broze’s case was delayed last year after she was released from jail on bond and skipped a Feb. 26, 2019, court date. She was arrested near Minneapolis, Minn., April 29 and extradited to Garfield County.
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