A 12-member jury was deliberating on Tuesday afternoon in the trial of a former Lebanon man accused of two counts of criminally negligent homicide for a December 2017 vehicle crash between Albany and Jefferson.
Andrew Steven Lindquist, 34, of Silverton, is charged with the deaths of Carol Sue Torstrom, 66, of Lebanon, and her passenger, Diane Ellen Roth, 74, of Albany.
The crash occurred on Dec. 18, 2017, on Kamph Drive. Torstrom’s Jeep Wrangler was stopped to turn left into a driveway when it was smashed into from behind.
Prosecutor Julia Baker said that, according to a computer from Lindquist’s pickup, at the time of the crash “He was going 63 mph and the gas pedal was pushed down, and there was no pressure on the brake.”
Baker said Lindquist had more than 20 seconds to brake and should have been paying attention and able to avoid the tragedy.
“A reasonable person would have stopped, at some point, at any point, before driving through the car in front of them,” Baker said. “He’s the one who had complete control over whether this happened or not.”
Defense attorney Michael Lowry said that Lindquist was responsible for the crash, but not criminally responsible.
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“Not paying attention, despite the terrible consequences — and they’re terrible, there’s no argument — is not a crime,” Lowry added.
He stressed that Lindquist was not on his phone or intoxicated, and that a witness heard screeching tires before the crash. Lindquist tried to steer away from the crash at the last moment, and told authorities he thought the Jeep was going to turn and he didn’t brake in time.
Lowry said that the state’s case was more concerned with the horrible aftermath of the crash than in showing negligence in the buildup of the wreck.
“She doesn’t have any other information, so she plays on your heart, and that’s not right,” Lowry said.
Baker responded by telling the jury that Lindquist chose not to stop. “He took a gamble. He assumed they would turn and they wouldn’t be there on the road,” she added.
She ended her closing argument by showing the jury photos of Torstrom and Roth.
“Every car on the road is someone’s mother, brother, child, wife,” Baker said.