UPDATE: It was a big first day of testimony in the Benjamin Brewer trial. 

The Kentucky truck driver is charged with killing six people and hurting six others in a crash on I-75 North in Ooltewah in 2015.

The biggest piece of evidence centered around recorded statements Brewer made to police hours after the crash. 

In the statements when asked about what happened, he said, "I saw brake lights; I tried to hit my brakes; I didn't have brakes; I tried to veer left."

Dashcam video shows Benjamin Brewer holding his head in the back of a police car moments after the crash that killed six people.

Jurors heard Brewer's demeanor described differently by Lisa Martin, the woman who drew his blood that night.
 
"He then said, "Can I go home? They won't let me go home," Martin said. "I just looked at him. Of course, I can't answer that. I said lets get the blood drawn and let an officer decide. He said, 'What's done is done. I can't undo it.'"Martin testified. 

A tearful testimony came from witness Tina Close as she described dealing with the emotional impact of the crash more than two years later.

“There was a semi coming behind us in our lane very fast,” Close said.

Other witnesses described seeing Brewer driving recklessly before the crash

“I tried to catch him," witness Curtis Caulder said. "I was wanting to call his company to let them know how he was driving his truck, tailgating people and driving way over the posted speed limit."

The defense tried to poke holes in Caulder’s testimony, saying his account doesn’t match his previous statements.

The case hinges on whether or not Brewer was high on meth at the time of the crash. Prosecutors say he was, but the defense says something else caused the crash.

“The most likely and sensible explanation for this accident is that Benjamin Brewer dozed off behind the wheel,” Defense Attorney Erinn O’Leary said during opening statements.

It will be up to a jury from Davidson County to decide Brewer’s fate.

Testimony resumes Tuesday at 9 AM. 

Benjamin Brewer is charged with six counts of vehicular homicide from the crash. There are six other charges related to injuries from the crash. If convicted, Brewer faces up to 72 years in prison. 


PREVIOUS STORY: The man charged in the deaths of six people in a 2015 interstate crash is on trial Monday in a Chattanooga courtroom.

Benjamin Brewer is charged with 6 counts of vehicular homicide from the crash; there are 6 other charges related to injuries from the crash. If convicted, Brewer faces up to 72 years in prison. 

Brewer failed to stop his semi as he approached traffic at the Ooltewah I-75 exit and slammed into several cars. Brewer later tested positive for meth.

A jury of 12 men and four women were chosen from Nashville and brought to Chattanooga to hear the case.

They will be sequestered, with no access to the internet or other media, for the duration of the trial.


Channel 3's Michelle Heron is in the courtroom and tweeting live updates from the trial. Her posts can be seen below.