Two boys and their father were on the edge of West Tyvola Road when they were struck by a Sears truck last year, a witness testified Thursday.
The testimony came on the third day of the trial of Dirk Jerome Brown, the truck's driver, who is charged with two counts of death by vehicle in connection with the deaths of Jeremy Brewton Jr., 1, and his older brother Kadrien Pendergrass, 5.
The boys' father was walking them and another sibling to daycare on a drizzly morning Feb. 22, 2012, on a section of West Tyvola Road. The father pushed a stroller with an infant child, and Kadrien pushed Jeremy along a stretch of road where there are no sidewalks.
The truck, driven by Brown, approached the foursome from behind as it made a right turn. The boys were struck by the back part of the truck, near the wheel. Both died from blunt force trauma, despite attempts by at least one passerby to perform CPR.
David Ayude, the witness who testified Thursday morning, told jurors he "saw it all."
Ayude is an armored truck driver, and had just picked up cash at the Family Dollar Store on nearby West Boulevard. He told jurors he saw the family of four on the side of the road, then saw the Sears truck about to turn right. Ayude says he slowed down to allow the large box truck a wider berth, but Brown didn't use all the space allotted.
“The back of the tire, his right tire, hit the kids and flipped the stroller over and hit the dad in the leg," Ayude told jurors. “And (the dad) started shouting. He was shouting, ‘He hit my kids. He killed my kids.’ “
A police investigator testified earlier that he was unable to reconstruct exactly what led up to the crash. And Brown's lawyer, Mark Foster has raised questions about whether the pedestrians or their father had at least some responsibility to stay out of the busy road.
The boys' death also sparked the community's ire because of the lack of a sidewalk on that stretch of West Tyvola, a popular cut through for pedestrians to get to businesses or the public library on West Boulevard. Two school bus stops were also located near the site of the crash when it happened.
The maximum sentence for the charges facing Brown is 150 days in jail for each count.
Family members of Kadrien and Jeremy in the courtroom said they couldn't talk about the case while it was ongoing. But they said the city has not built a sidewalk at the site of the crash.
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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