Re-trial begins for Michael Jakscht in 2010 motorcycle deaths

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on June 11, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 12 at 8:50 AM

PHOENIX -- The re-trial for a man accused of killing four motorcyclists in 2010 began Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

"These are the last seconds of my life as I knew it up to that point," said Todd Faasee, a victim in the crash.

Faasee was one of many bikers injured when the driver of a dump truck plowed into their group stopped at a red light on Carefree Highway. Four riders died at the scene. 

"Bikes were going up over my head and bikes were going down and bikes were being twisted and bikes were in the middle," said Faasee, describing the scene. "So bikes and people and ... the noise."

What led up to this horrifying moment is the focus of a re-trial for the truck's driver, Michael Jakscht. The State argues Jakscht was impaired, due to the discovery of methamphetamine in his system.

"The defendant was driving a 23,000-pound dump truck, or garbage truck, impaired by meth," said prosecutor Aaron Harder. 

Jakscht's defense attorneys did acknowledge the presence of methamphetamine in his system, but made no mention of diet pills as the source as they did in the previous trial.

His team plans to call veteran officers who were on the scene to the stand to argue that if Jakscht was high, these officers would know it. Jakscht's attorneys also said that the truck Jakscht was driving had faulty brakes.

"His brakes acted in no way how he expected them to act," said defense attorney Jennifer Wilmot.

So was it mechanical problems or methamphetamine? And can this jury decide? Both parties are hopeful it can.

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