Testimony begins in hit-and-run trial
The trial of an Eagle Point woman accused of failing to stop after striking a teenager who was lying on Riverside Avenue started Tuesday, more than 19 months after the crash that killed 15-year-old Manuel Antonio-Gonzalez.
Mary Ann Shostrom, 53, faces a felony hit-and-run charge formally known as "failure to perform the duties of a driver to an injured person." Her trial in Jackson County Circuit Court is scheduled to last three days, but attorneys said it could conclude before Thanksgiving, when the courts are closed.
Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Ginger Greer opened the case against Shostrom by calling to the witness stand some of the first people to arrive on the bloody accident scene shortly after 2 a.m. on April 13, 2008.
Harold Flowers, a surgical technician who was going to Kids Unlimited across the street to pick up his daughter after a basketball trip to Portland, testified that he saw a gathering of people at the roadside and heard shouting. He went to help, giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation when passers-by couldn't find the teen's pulse, he told the court.
William Hewson, who was driving by with his girlfriend on his way home, testified that he also stopped to help with CPR after seeing a crowd of people surrounding the body lying in the street.
Medford police officer Trevor Arnold, who patrols the neighborhood regularly, was the first officer on the scene. He told the court of closing the street so emergency crews could work, then calming Antonio-Gonzalez's brother, Juan, who was 13 at the time and the only witness.
Arnold testified that Juan Antonio-Gonzalez said the car that struck his brother was a white sedan from the early '90s — possibly a Mazda or Nissan — with stock wheel rims. The boy also told the officer that he thought there might have been three males in the car — a driver, a front-seat passenger and a passenger in the back seat. That was the first description Arnold radioed to officers across the city, he testified.
In interviewing the boy, Arnold asked him if the headlights of the suspect car looked like the round headlights seen on a car that pulled into the parking lot across the street as they talked. Antonio-Gonzalez said that they did, Arnold said in court Tuesday.
The officer identified the lights as likely belonging to a Ford Taurus or Contour, cars driven by Medford police detectives, and passed that description on to other investigators.
The state's case continued with a string of investigators and forensic scientists. Defense attorney Kelly Ravassipour plans to call Shostrom and the only other witness to the crash, Juan Antonio-Gonzalez.
Investigators first presented the case to a grand jury in the week after the crash, but the panel assembled to evaluate the prosecutors' case declined to return an indictment against Shostrom based on the available evidence. The case charging her with failing to stop was dismissed, court records show.
Medford police continued to investigate, getting a search warrant for further examination of Shostrom's 1996 white Ford Contour by forensic experts.
Police have declined to say what Manuel Antonio-Gonzalez was doing in the roadway at 2 a.m.
In light of new evidence gathered, a Jackson County Circuit Court judge signed an order allowing the district attorney to bring the case back to the grand jury, which indicted Shostrom in August 2008.
Since then the trial has been postponed several times, records indicate.
Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org