River Road hit-and-run trial begins - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

River Road hit-and-run trial begins

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The trial of the Richmond man accused in a deadly hit and run on River Road last July started Monday. Elias Webb is scheduled for a three-day jury trial in the death of Lanie Kruszewski.

It took almost three hours to seat a jury in this case as questions about widespread media coverage, opinions on behavior after hitting a deer and bicycling habits, precluded many people from being picked.

Emotions ran high as part of the evidence presented includes graphic pictures of Kruszewski's body, where it landed on the side of the road after being struck by Elias Webb's SUV.

Webb's attorneys maintained Monday that the 31-year-old thought he hit a deer while driving on River Road last summer, when in fact it was Lanie Kruszewski riding home on her bicycle. She died at the scene.

The question here is not whether Webb was driving the Dodge Durango when it hit Kruszewski, but whether he did know or should have known he crashed into a person.

Defense lawyers said Monday they'll show the jury Webb had looked down to make two phone calls when he felt a large thump. We're told they'll explain his windshield was smashed, but when he looked both in front and behind him, he didn't see anything.

They also say, despite what the Commonwealth presents, the few sips of beer and 1.5 to two glasses of wine Webb consumed before the crash, would not have impaired his abilities.

Prosecutors though told jurors Monday, a deer was not riding the bike, nor wearing a white shirt and helmet, nor did it have lights on it. The Commonwealth said whatever the defendant did after that thump, was "too little, too late."

Several witnesses against Webb describe a Dodge Durango driving on River Road just after 10 o'clock on July 29 of last year, which had "swerved violently," then corrected and accelerated. Those people also told jurors they stopped on the side of the road to check on Kruszewski. She had severe trauma to her face and they could not find a pulse.

Defense attorneys confirmed Elias Webb will take the stand in his own defense.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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