During opening statements, Brougham told the court that Alvarez set his parking brake before the crash, intending to fortify his SUV on the tracks before it was struck.
“I’m not saying the parking brake wasn’t set, but given the forces of the impact, there’s no way to tell,” said accident reconstruction expert Merkel Weiss, holding the mangled and charred parking brake recovered from the scene.
Weiss went on to tell jurors that it was unlikely that Alvarez would be able to reverse off the tracks, saying, “Momentum is a key factor in an auto collision. When it [the Jeep] got over the rail, it used up its movement. Once it got two wheels over the rail, it could never get out.”