JENNIFER SUE GIRSCH
CRIMINAL TRIAL

See also: Jennifer Girsch CFPS Report
See also:
Jennifer Girsch Civil Trial Deposition


(Pages 79-98)

 

25 MR. WADDING: Thank you. Call Ms. Girsch to

80

 

1 the stand, Jennifer Girsch.

 

2 JENNIFER SUE GIRSCH,

3 called as a witness on behalf of the state, being first

4 duly sworn by the court, was examined and testified as

5 follows:

 

6 COURT: Please state your full name.

 

7 WITNESS: Jennifer Sue Girsch.

 

8 COURT: How do you spell your last name?

 

9 WITNESS: G-I-R-S-C-H.

 

10 COURT: Thank you. Mr. Wadding.

 

11 MR. WADDING: Thank you, Your Honor.

 

12 DIRECT EXAMINATION

13 BY MR. WADDING:

 

14 Q. Ms. Girsch, what is your occupation?

 

15 A. I'm a recreational therapist.

 

16 Q. And how long have you been a recreational

17 therapist?

 

18 A. For three years.

 

19 Q. And where are you employed?

 

20 A. Harmony House Health Care Center.

 

21 Q. And have you been employed there for three

22 years?

 

23 A. Uh-huh.

 

24 Q. And did you have to go through some type of

 

25 education to achieve that position?

81

 

1 A. I have a four-year degree.

 

2 Q. And where did you get that?

 

3 A. UNI, University of Northern Iowa.

 

4 Q. Thank you. And do you mind me asking how old

5 you are?

 

6 A. Twenty-six.

 

7 Q. And at the time of October -- on October 4th,

8 1996, how long would you have been in recreational

9 therapist?

 

10 A. Two and a half years.

 

11 Q. Had you been employed in that occupation

12 prior to that?

 

13 A. No.

 

14 Q. And I want to direct your attention to

15 October 4th, 1996. Did you have occasion to, or did you

16 witness an accident that day?

 

17 A. Yes, I did.

 

18 Q. And do you recall approximately what time it

19 was?

 

20 A. 11:02.

 

21 Q. And why do you say 11:02?

 

22 A. Because I looked at my clock right when it

23 happened.

 

24 Q. And when you talk about your clock, which

25 clock are you speaking of?

 

82

1 A. In my car.

 

2 Q. And prior to the accident, where -- where was

3 your ultimate destination; do you recall?

 

4 A. I was going to meet my friends at Brooster's.

 

5 Q. And what had you been doing prior to that?

 

6 A. I had just gotten off work.

 

7 Q. And what kind of hours do you work?

 

8 A. 11:30 to 8 almost every day.

 

9 Q. And five, six days a week? How long?

 

10 A. Five days a week, one weekend a month.

 

11 Q. And you would have worked this day as well?

 

12 A. Yes.

 

13 Q. And had you had anything alcoholic to drink

14 prior to --

 

15 A. No.

 

16 Q. -- observing this accident?

 

17 A. No.

 

18 Q. And could you describe where you were at the

19 time you observed the accident?

 

20 A. I was coming to a stop heading east on

21 Greenhill Road.

 

22 Q. And why were you coming to a stop?

 

23 A. It was a flashing red light.

 

24 Q. And what ob -- when you're coming to the

25 stop, what observations are you making?

 

83

 

1 A. I saw a silver truck coming the opposite way

2 west on Greenhill Road that I thought did not look like

3 it was going to stop, that it was going to go through the

4 light.

 

5 Q. And did you make any observations of any

6 other vehicles at that time?

 

7 A. At the point when I noticed that he was not

8 going to stop, I looked to my left and saw a blue car

9 heading south.

 

10 MR. WADDING: May I approach, Your Honor?

 

11 COURT: You may.

 

12 Q. When you're making this observation, I don't

13 believe I had the opportunity to show you this prior to

14 your testimony today, but does this look familiar to you?

 

15 A. Yeah.

 

16 Q. Okay. And it's been identified as the

17 intersection of Greenhill Road and Highway 58, and can

18 you recognize that as that?

 

19 A. Uh-huh.

 

20 Q. And can you recognize which way is Greenhill

21 and which way is 58?

 

22 A. I believe this is 58 and this is Greenhill.

 

23 Q. Okay. And so this would be the north/south

24 Highway 58 and east/west Greenhill Road?

 

25 A. (Nodding.)

 

84

 

1 Q. And where would -- where would you be at --

2 where would you be traveling at, if you don't mind my --

 

3 A. I was going east right here.

 

4 Q. And if -- if you wouldn't mind standing up

5 for a minute.

 

6 A. Oh. (Complied.)

 

7 Q. If I could ask you, I haven't had real good

8 luck with marking this photograph yet, but if you could

9 mark approximately where you are when you're observing

10 just prior to the accident?

 

11 A. (Complied.) About right here.

 

12 Q. And how -- go ahead and have a seat.

 

13 A. (Complied.)

 

14 Q. Thank you. And how far -- what are you

15 observing this other vehicle doing that's traveling

16 coming toward the intersection?

 

17 A. I felt it was going fast.

 

18 Q. Okay. And did it appear that it was slowing

19 down for the intersection?

 

20 A. No.

 

21 Q. Did it appear that it was slowing down for

22 the flashing red light that you had slowed down for?

 

23 A. No.

 

24 Q. Okay. And what did you observe then?

 

25 A. The silver truck hit the driver's side of the

 

85

 

1 blue car.

 

2 Q. And how far away are you from that collision?

 

3 A. I don't know exact amount. I'd say a car

4 length away.

 

5 Q. And can you describe what you're seeing?

 

6 A. They were doing a bunch of donuts, and they

7 landed in the ditch to the right of me.

 

8 Q. Okay. And is this pretty much taking place

9 right in front of you?

 

10 A. Uh-huh.

 

11 Q. How are you feeling at that time?

 

12 A. Scared.

 

13 Q. Okay. Why is that?

 

14 A. Because I almost got hit, or I could have

15 been hit if I could have been up a little bit more or --

 

16 Q. And did you get hit?

 

17 A. No.

 

18 Q. Did anything happen to your vehicle?

 

19 A. Yeah. I got damage to the -- the hood of my

20 car from flying glass.

 

21 Q. And so you were pretty close in to the

22 accident?

 

23 A. Uh-huh.

 

24 MR. WADDING: May I approach, Your Honor?

 

25 COURT: You may.

 

86

 

1 Q. The end location of the vehicles has been

2 identified as being in the -- I guess that would be what,

3 the south -- southwest corner?

 

4 A. Uh-huh.

 

5 Q. -- is that correct?

 

6 A. Right.

 

7 Q. Does that look correct to you?

 

8 A. Right.

 

9 Q. I guess one vehicle has been identified as

10 the silver truck and the other the blue car. Does that

11 look consistent with your recollection of where they

12 ended?

 

13 A. Yes.

 

14 Q. Okay. Now, how would you characterize the

15 accident that you saw there? Did it look like it was a

16 pretty serious accident or a fender-bender, or how would

17 you describe it?

 

18 A. Pretty serious.

 

19 Q. What did you do after you observed it?

 

20 A. I picked up my cell phone, called 911.

 

21 Q. And did you -- you indicated that you made an

22 observation of that you had a flashing red light at the

23 intersection, you were stopping for that. Did you ever

24 at any time after the impact or before the impact observe

25 the traffic signal devices of the intersection of any

 

87

 

1 other lane of traffic?

 

2 A. Yeah. From where I had parked my car I could

3 see the flashing yellow light to my right for Highway 58.

 

4 Q. Okay. Now, after you called 911, what did

5 you do?

 

6 A. The man and the woman in the truck got out,

7 and I got off the phone and helped them to the side of

8 the road

 

9 Q. Okay. And when you say helped them to the

10 side of the road, what -- why did you help them?

 

11 A. The woman was sitting in the middle of the

12 road, and the man helped her up, and I just asked them to

13 please come to the side and sit on the median so they

14 wouldn't be hit by traffic.

 

15 Q. Did you make any observations of them at that

16 time?

 

17 A. They were staggering.

 

18 Q. And did you make any other observations about

19 them when you had contact with them?

 

20 A. They were upset.

 

21 Q. And how close did you think you got to them?

 

22 A. About an arms length.

 

23 Q. And when you say that you saw a man and a

24 lady get out of the truck; is that correct?

 

25 A. Uh-huh.

 

88

1 Q. And is the man in the courtroom today?

 

2 A. Yes.

 

3 Q. Could you describe what he's wearing and

4 point him out, please.

 

5 A. He's wearing a gray suit.

 

6 Q. And seated next to Mr. Correll there --

 

7 A. Right.

 

8 Q. -- in the blue suit?

 

9 MR. WADDING: May the record reflect the

10 witness has identified the defendant.

 

11 COURT: It shall.

 

12 Q. And is he the one you observed assisting his

13 wife get up?

 

14 A. Right.

 

15 Q. How would you describe that?

 

16 A. He took her by the jacket and pulled her up.

 

17 Q. Is that a fairly quick movement or slow

18 movement or --

 

19 A. Kind of slow.

 

20 Q. Did he have any difficulty in standing or --

 

21 A. He did not. She did.

 

22 Q. And when did you observe their staggering?

 

23 A. Right when they got out of the vehicle.

 

24 Q. And did they get out on opposite sides?

 

25 A. Yes.

89

 

1 Q. And were you able to direct them to the

2 location that you wanted to direct them to?

 

3 A. I directed them to the left side, the turning

4 lane on Greenhill Road, and they sat on the median.

 

5 Q. What did you do then?

 

6 A. I then went over to the blue car.

 

7 Q. What did you do over at the blue car?

 

8 A. The passenger was trying to get out, and I

9 was trying to comfort her and help her to sit and stay in

10 the car.

 

11 Q. Was anyone else there at that time?

 

12 A. Yes. DeWayne and Emily, and another older

13 man was kneeling down on the driver's side.

 

14 Q. And when you speak of DeWayne and Emily, are

15 you talking about Emily Rizner-Brasfield and DeWayne

16 Brasfield?

 

17 A. Right.

 

18 Q. Did you know them prior to this incident?

 

19 A. No.

 

20 Q. And what were they doing?

 

21 A. They were also trying to help the passenger

22 stay in the car.

 

23 Q. Would you describe what you were seeing in

24 that vehicle then?

 

25 A. The -- the passenger just had a cut here

 

90

 

1 (indicating), and the -- the driver -- I couldn't really

2 see her very well, but I noticed the dashboard, and like

3 the steering wheel was very close to her, and the girl in

4 the back seat was crouched up in the -- kind of in a ball

5 in the corner shaking.

 

6 Q. And is the front seat passenger speaking?

 

7 A. Yes.

 

8 Q. Is anybody else inside the vehicle speaking?

 

9 A. No.

 

10 Q. Do you ever remember the defendant making any

11 comment about the accident itself?

 

12 A. Yes. He said, me and my wife -- or me and my

13 wife were having trouble with her mother. We weren't

14 paying attention. I guess it's our fault.

 

15 Q. Do you remember anything else?

 

16 A. He said something to the effect that, I guess

17 our car's totaled.

 

18 Q. Do you remember any other statements made by

19 the defendant?

 

20 A. No.

 

21 Q. Do you remember when in time those statements

22 were made?

 

23 A. Right after he got to the median or on the

24 way to the median.

 

25 Q. How long do you think that you were with the

 

91

 

1 defendant?

 

2 A. Two to three minutes.

 

3 Q. And after you had went over to the blue car

4 where the females were, did you ever return and speak

5 with the defendant?

 

6 A. No.

 

7 Q. Did you remain there until the police and

8 paramedics arrived?

 

9 A. Right.

 

10 Q. How long do you think that you were waiting?

 

11 A. Ten minutes.

 

12 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I

13 have. Thank you.

 

14 COURT: Mr. Correll.

 

15 MR. CORRELL: Thank you.

 

16 CROSS-EXAMINATION

 

17 BY MR. CORRELL:

 

18 Q. Ms. Girsch, when you were headed, which would

19 really be to the east on Greenhill Road, if you -- would

20 that have been the route that you were going to take,

21 Greenhill Road to Brooster's?

 

22 A. Yes, I always do.

 

23 Q. Have you ever taken that route to Brooster's

24 before?

 

25 A. Yes.

 

92

 

1 Q. About in miles or time, how far would you

2 estimate, first in miles, if you can, about how far would

3 it be from that intersection if you just follow Greenhill

4 Road, because Greenhill almost runs right by Brooster's,

5 doesn't it?

 

6 A. Uh-huh.

 

7 Q. Okay. Are you --

 

8 A. From the intersection to Brooster's?

 

9 Q. Yes. From the intersection of Highway 58 and

10 Greenhill, approximately in miles if you're able to do

11 that.

 

12 A. Approximately five, ten.

 

13 Q. Okay. And the speed limit that is on

 

14 Greenhill for your east/west, what was that speed limit,

15 if you know?

 

16 A. 45.

 

17 Q. And with regard to the speed limit on Highway

18 58, do you know what that speed limit is?

 

19 A. 55.

 

20 Q. And when you were approaching this

21 intersection, is that when you first saw Mr. Rokes'

22 vehicle?

 

23 A. Yes.

 

24 Q. And would Mr. Rokes' vehicle have been close

25 to the intersection when you first saw it?

 

93

 

1 A. Yeah.

 

2 Q. Can you tell me about how close?

 

3 A. No, I can't.

 

4 Q. Okay. And am I correct, when you say -- when

5 you talk about the movement or the speed of the Rokes

6 vehicle, you're not saying, I take it, that his vehicle

7 was going more than 45 miles-per-hour?

 

8 A. I wouldn't know, no.

 

9 Q. What you did notice about his vehicle though

10 was at some point in time you thought it wasn't going to

11 stop?

 

12 A. Right.

 

13 Q. And is that what you were referring to when

14 you were referring to speed?

 

15 A. Yeah.

 

16 Q. Okay. With regard to the -- where you were,

17 how far back were you from the intersection when you saw

18 the impact?

 

19 A. I was about in the middle. If you were to

 

20 look at the turning lane that's there, about the middle

21 of the turn lane and out.

 

22 Q. Were you still in movement --

 

23 A. Yeah.

 

24 Q. -- at the time of impact?

 

25 A. Uh-huh.

 

94

 

1 Q. And when the vehicle, the Rokes vehicle

2 ultimately came over into the -- basically the lane of

3 traffic that you were headed; isn't that correct?

 

4 A. Yes.

 

5 Q. And -- but it did not obviously strike your

6 vehicle --

 

7 A. No.

 

8 Q. -- is that correct? When the car came to

9 rest and they got out, had you -- had you pulled your car

10 to a stop by that point in time?

 

11 A. Yes, I did.

 

12 Q. And when the person that you have described

13 as Mr. Rokes, you -- you would have had a conversation

14 with him within minutes or maybe even seconds at the time

15 of the collision?

 

16 A. Yes.

 

17 Q. Okay. And was -- was that conversation when

18 you're basically both in the street area?

 

19 A. Yeah.

 

20 Q. And at that point in time, is that when he

21 indicated to you that they had been having trouble with

22 his wife's mother?

 

23 A. Yes.

 

24 Q. And did he indicate to you that it was health

25 problems with the wife's mother?

 

95

 

1 A. No, he did not.

 

2 Q. You just knew that there was some kind of

3 problems?

 

4 A. Yes.

 

5 Q. And did he indicate to you basically that

6 the -- that he was having some type of conversation with

7 his wife about that problem?

 

8 A. Yeah.

 

9 Q. And did he then basically indicate to you

10 that that's why he -- that he didn't see them?

 

11 A. Yes.

 

12 Q. And did he then basically indicate that

13 that's why maybe it was his fault?

 

14 A. Yeah.

 

15 Q. And then when you went over to the other car,

16 the blue car, the Oldsmobile, was there a man that came

17 after you to -- to that car as well? Another passerby?

 

18 A. Yeah.

 

19 Q. And do you know what his name is?

 

20 A. Besides DeWayne, no. There was an older man.

21 I don't --

 

22 Q. It was DeWayne Brasfield --

 

23 A. Uh-huh.

 

24 Q. And then there was another man; is that

25 correct?

 

96

 

1 A. Uh-huh.

 

2 Q. And do you know what his name was?

 

3 A. No, I don't.

 

4 Q. Was -- did he tell you where he worked or

5 anything like that?

 

6 A. No. I did not talk to him.

 

7 Q. Okay. Do you remember what kind of vehicle

8 he had?

 

9 A. No.

 

10 Q. Do you remember that man saying anything at

11 all?

 

12 A. No.

 

13 Q. And did Mr. or Mrs. Rokes express concern

14 about the passengers in the blue Oldsmobile to you?

 

15 A. Mrs. Rokes came running over at one point and

16 asked how they were doing.

 

17 MR. CORRELL: That's all I have. Thank you.

 

18 COURT: Mr. Wadding?

 

19 MR. WADDING: No questions. Thank you.

 

20 COURT: Thank you. Do you have another

21 witness ready, Mr. Wadding?

 

22 MR. WADDING: That's all the witnesses I had

23 scheduled for this morning, Your Honor.

 

24 COURT: When will your next witness be ready

25 to go?

 

97

 

1 MR. WADDING: 1:30.

 

2 COURT: Possible to have someone ready by 1?

 

3 MR. WADDING: Possible. I did have a meeting

4 with Dr. Bennett at noon. He isn't scheduled until

5 Thursday, but I did have a meeting with Dr. Bennett at

6 noon. I wanted -- that's -- I was just kind of hoping

7 that I scheduled appropriately, but if you want to get up

8 at 1, I can probably do that.

 

9 COURT: Let's take our noon recess until

10 1 o'clock. Hopefully you'll have a witness ready by then

11 and we'll be ready to go. Thank you.

 

12 (At which time a recess was taken at

13 11:31 a.m., May 13, 1997; and proceedings commenced at

14 1:05 p.m., May 13, 1997, with the court, counsel and

15 defendant present.)

 

16 COURT: Are the parties ready? Mr. Wadding?

 

17 MR. WADDING: Yes, Your Honor.

 

18 COURT: Mr. Correll?

 

19 MR. CORRELL: Yes, Your Honor.

updated 12/19/16