UPDATE: Day one of vehicular homicide trial puts into question w - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Day one of vehicular homicide trial puts into question who was behind the wheel

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PENDER, Neb. (KTIV) -Thurston County, Nebraska's first jury trial in six-years got underway in Pender, Nebraska, Tuesday.  The first day of testimony in the vehicular homicide trial of 20-year-old Miguel Tapia included the neighbor, who Tapia asked for help from immediately following the crash.

Rita Dunn testified that Tapia told her Princess Morris was behind the wheel of the pick-up they were both in when it sped off the gravel road and tipped over on its roof.

First responders also testified that Tapia told them that Morris was behind the wheel and that he'd told her to slow down.

However, evidence shows the 20-year old Morris was partially ejected out the passenger's side window and pinned underneath the cab.

Tapia was arrested for drunk driving, his second offense, and later charged with vehicular homicide.

Morris's family filled the Thurston County courtroom Tuesday.  Morris' mother says no amount of justice can bring her daughter back.

"If this boy goes to jail, he'll come home.  His mother will be able to see him.  I'll never be able to see my daughter again.  She'll never come home," said Amelia Scheinost.

The evidence shows that Tapia had a blood alcohol level of .10, Morris had a blood alcohol level of .14.  Neither were wearing a seat belt according to accident reconstruction experts.

Scheinost said  it's tough sitting through testimony, but she hopes it brings her closure and saves another life down the road.

"It's a tragedy," said Amelia Scheinost, Victim's Mother. "I can't deal with it. I look for her every day. I want people to know that they shouldn't drink and drive."

Judge John Samson said the trial is moving more quickly than expected and will likely be wrapped up Wednesday.  Tapia faces up to 50-years in prison if found guilty.




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