Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:57
Jurors heard from two men who were hospitalized after a crash that killed another CSX employee in the murder trial of Cody Rickard on Wednesday.
|Cody Rickard's attorney, Edward Rhode III, giving opening statement. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Rickard, 26, Woodville, is charged with murder and two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Paul Castle, 34, Paintsville, Ky., in the Oct. 28 incident. He is also charged with two counts of vehicular assault and two counts of felonious assault.
Prosecutors say Rickard reportedly drove around two sets of barricades and into a construction zone where CSX workers were replacing tracks at a railroad crossing on Bradner Road, near James Street, just outside of Bradner.
Lewis Knott, who was working at the site that day, testified he was sitting on the bumper of a mechanic's truck that morning.
"Next thing I know I heard something hit something real loud, and all of a sudden I was on the ground."
Knott learned he had been struck by Jim Conley, a CSX track supervisor, who was at the scene. Conley had himself allegedly been struck by Rickard's white 2009 Dodge Charger and thrown into Knott.
"I know he hit me," said Knott, "but I couldn't tell you how hard he hit me, but he knocked me down."
Knott suffered a hip contusion, torn ligaments in his knee and other injuries.
Additionally, after treatment, when he was being taken back to his residence in Kentucky, he reportedly passed out due to a heart issue. A doctor later told him it was due to the incident.
Conley testified he was speaking with Castle prior to the crash - ironically, the pair recently discovered they were related, and were discussing their family connections.
"That was when the car came through there and hit us," said Conley.
"What I saw was the right-rear quarter panel of the car coming towards me."
The impact knocked him backwards off of his feet and into Knott.
He suffered a broken pelvis, two cracked vertebrae, and other injuries.
Neither Conley nor Knott have been able to return to work yet as a result of their injuries.
The jury also heard testimony from forensic pathologists from the Lucas County Coroner's Office who said that Rickard had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the incident, and that Castle, who died weeks after the crash, ultimately succumbed to complications of multiple blunt force trauma.
Additionally testifying was Lt. Chris Kinn, statewide crash reconstruction commander for the Ohio Highway Patrol.
Kinn, discussing information gleaned from the "black box" data recorder in Rickard's vehicle, said that the gas pedal of the vehicle was all the way down prior to the crash, and "there was no breaking during these five seconds of pre-crash data."
"Generally, law enforcement officers are the only ones that drive that aggressive," he said. He also testified that the vehicle steered sharply to the right just before impact.
The prosecution rested their case on Wednesday. The fourth day of trial was expected to get underway today.