Jury selection begins in re-trial of Michael Jakscht

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on June 4, 2012 at 6:21 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 4 at 8:37 AM

PHOENIX -- Jury selection begins Monday for the re-trial of a man accused of slamming his dump truck into a group of motorcyclists, killing four people and injuring several others.

A judge in Michael Jakscht's case declared a mistrial in August.

Toxicology reports showed Jakscht had methamphetamine in his system and investigators said the suspect never hit the brakes in the March 2010 crash.

The defense argued that Jakscht had taken diet pills and the brakes on his truck weren't working well.

A majority of the jurors decided there wasn't enough evidence to convict the suspect of manslaughter or endangerment.

Ernie Lizarraga, a veteran Phoenix firefighter, was in a coma for weeks and suffered multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

Lizarraga is scheduled to testify once more, a task he says he must do.

"I have to. I have no choice, but I have to," he said. "Reliving it every day is hard."

Lizarraga said life has been hard as he continues with rehabilitation, but he has moved on with his life despite the outcome of the first trial.

"It was a big shock, a lot of it was a jury decided on that. A big shock really," said Lizarraga, who is now a safety officer at the Fire Training Academy. "I hope they convict him, because the evidence out there pretty much shows that."

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