Emotional testimony in trial for driver in deadly crash - KPTV - FOX 12

Emotional testimony in trial for driver in deadly Forest Grove crash

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

Cynthia Garcia-Cisneros went into shock and then denial when she learned she hit two Forest Grove sisters, the teen driver's attorney told jurors in the opening statement of her trial.

Garcia-Cisneros is charged with two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver for the Oct. 20 crash that killed Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and Abigail Robinson, 11.

The sisters were playing in a pile of leaves when they were hit.

Garcia-Cisneros, who was in a Nissan Pathfinder with her brother and boyfriend, heard a loud bump, but continued driving to her home on the next block because she believed she hit a rock, said her attorney, Ethan Levi.

When her brother told her two girls were injured in the leaf pile, Garcia-Cisneros didn't believe him.

Garcia-Cisneros, said Levi, didn't see anyone on the street or in the leaves before she drove through the pile. When her brother and boyfriend examined the Nissan Pathfinder when they got home, they found only leaves, no blood.

"It couldn't have happened, it didn't happen," he said. "She convinced herself it didn't happen."

"An accident is an accident, but it still triggers certain obligations," prosecutor Bracken McKey told jurors in his opening statement.

McKey played the frantic 911 call Tom Robinson made after finding his daughter, Abigail, and his stepdaughter, Anna, in the pile of leaves.

The first police officer arrived while Robinson was still on the phone with the dispatcher. Soon, lights from numerous first responder vehicles lit up the street like a Christmas tree, he said.

Robinson also took the stand, saying he took pictures of the girls playing in the leaf pile, then went inside the house to put the camera away that night.

Robinson testified he heard a car speed up and then heard a bump.

He looked for the girls in the backyard, but they weren't there.

"I went to the front door and I couldn't see them. Then I noticed the broom and the rake in the street, next to the pile of leaves," Robinson said. "The only thing I could think was the girls were in the piles of leaves. So I go across the street and first I find Abigail and then I find Anna."

Jurors also heard testimony from the two teenagers who were in the car with Garcia-Cisneros, her younger brother and her boyfriend, Marion Echeverria.

Echeverria is currently serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty to hindering prosecution for his role in the case. He took the Nissan Pathfinder through a car wash the day after the crash.

Echeverria claimed no one realized they hit the two girls at the time they drove through the leaves.

"We just continued driving to her house thinking we hit something under the leaves since we didn't visibly see anyone playing there," said Echeverria.

"We didn't think there was people under there, and we just figured it was a log, or rock, or something under there."

The defendant's brother took the stand, claiming that Cynthia Garcia-Cisneros brought up turning herself into investigators, but they didn't want her to.

"She wanted to go to police, but I didn't,  I just told her to relax," said Mario Garcia-Cisneros.  "We did not want my sister to get in trouble."

The trial will resume Tuesday morning.

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