Wednesday was the third day in trial for the logging truck driver involved in the deaths of two Escanaba residents that happened March of last year. Harley Durocher is facing six felonies with a maximum sentence of 15 years each.
Durocher was driving an empty logging truck for Roberto Logging when he ran a red light. The crash resulted in the deaths of Thomas and Barbra Swift. Wednesday we heard from seven people including a toxicology expert and Durocher.
â??I determined it was positive for THC,â?? said Michigan State police forensic scientist Logan Albertson. This confirmed there was marijuana in Durocherâ??s system at the time of the accident.
As the trial continued, the integrity of Durocherâ??s brakes was questioned.
MSP motor carrier officer Erik Kestila said the truck had a significant amount of rust on its brakes; none of the trailerâ??s brakes were functioning, he said.
Kestila said it is the responsibility of the truck driver to perform inspections prior to driving. If a third party was used to do that inspection, such as in Durocherâ??s case, the driver still takes the responsibility of the truckâ??s safety.
â??The driver is the ultimate responsible person to do that inspection,â?? Kestila said.
MSP crash reconstruction specialist John Bruno created a video. It was used to show the time between the light turning yellow and the time of impact. He calculates this time to be 11.7 seconds.
He was asked if that is enough time for the truck to stop, given the condition of the brakes.
â??Yes, the truck would have been able to stop,â?? said Bruno.
The prosecution rested their case.
Finally Durocher took the stand. He said the length of the green light was shorter than he expected and when it changed to yellow, there was not enough time or distance to stop the truck.
â??It turned yellow and I started to slow down and from right there thereâ??s not enough time to stop the truck,â?? said Durocher.
When asked if the brakes seemed to be engaging, he said, â??They did to me.â??
The crash occurred in Gladstone at the US-2 & 41 and South Hill Road intersection, near the Shell station. To end the day, the jury was taken there to see the location for themselves. To protect the identities of the jury, TV6 did not send a reporter there.
Durocherâ??s trial will continue Thursday at 8 a.m.