WOBURN (CBS) — Jury deliberations began Thursday in the trial against Brad Casler, the driver involved in the 2016 deadly Sweet Tomatoes crash.
Calser, 57, faces two motor vehicle homicide charges after his S.U.V. drove through an intersection in Newton and crashed through the Sweet Tomatoes pizza shop, killing 32-year-old Gregory Morin and 57-year-old Eleanor Miele.
His attorney said he blames Casler’s multiple sclerosis for the crash and said he should not be held criminally responsible.
“How can they assert that he was negligent… they had no evidence that he shouldn’t be driving,” defense attorney Tom Giblin said during closing arguments in Middlesex Superior Court on Thursday. Prosecutors “put Mr. Casler’s disability on trial,” Giblin said.
Prosecutor Chris Tarrant said Casler, and not his medical condition, caused the fatal crash.
“It wasn’t multiple sclerosis. It was Brad Casler. He caused this crash,” Tarrant said, adding that Casler “made the decision to get behind the wheel of his car despite his condition.”
Casler chose to testify in his own defense on Tuesday, saying he doesn’t remember the crash.
“I don’t know, I don’t know, It haunts me every day that I don’t know what happened. I just don’t remember. I think about it all day long, I think about it at night, I wake up and shake at night lately,” Casler said Tuesday.
Tarrant called Casler’s memory loss during the fatal crash “fairly convenient.”
Jurors on Monday heard testimony from first responders who were at the scene of the 2016 fatal crash.
Meriam Saim, an EMT for Cataldo Ambulance, told the courtroom on Monday that when she asked Casler about any medical conditions at the scene, he responded that he had multiple sclerosis but did not think it played a role in the crash.
Saim continued, “He said he was approaching the intersection, tried stopping, was unable to, swerved around some cars that were in front of him, crashed into the pizza place, exited and crossed the street.”
On Thursday, Casler’s defense attorney asked the court to “disregard all of Mr. Casler’s comments after the crash,” calling them “not reliable.”
Giblin said Casler had a concussion and wasn’t in his right mind when he asked at the scene if he could get his groceries after the crash, and told first responders that he didn’t think his medical condition caused the crash.
“Because there’s a death does not mean that somebody has to be criminally responsible for it,” Giblin told the court. Casler was seen openly weeping in court during closing arguments.
As he closed his argument, Tarrant held up photographs of the two victims as he stood near the jury.
“Eleanor Miele was 57 years old. Gregory Morin was 32,” Tarrant said.