Photograph of Crosby’s Monte Carlo from a police report.

Ithaca, N.Y. — A series of images flashed across a screen in Tompkins County Court Wednesday morning.

Why I shop downtown — Marty

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They showed a van rolled over in the roadway, smashed and mangled every which way — from the front, from the back, from the side, from an aerial view. There were also diagrams depicting the crash.

“That is my scaled diagram,” said New York State Police Investigator Travis Webster, who testified today in the manslaughter trial of James Crosby, 19, who was charged in a double fatal crash on New Year’s Eve. “…That is the headlight I located from the Jeep.”

Assistant District Attorney Eliza Filipowski questioned the investigator Tuesday morning as she tries to prove that Crosby recklessly drove on a Newfield road last year, leading to the crash that took the lives of two Spencer residents, including Crosby’s best friend.

“He took on his celebrity role status in his mind,” Filipowski said of Crosby in her opening statement on Monday. “He’s a stunt driver and he doesn’t care about anyone else in his way. He’s invincible.”

Crosby’s attorneys have argued that the state police used “junk science” when reconstructing the crash scene. Read here full the full defense in the case. This earlier Voice profile provides more details about the technical arguments involved in the case that are referenced  below.

ADA Filipowski had Investigator Webster walk the court how he came to his report, which has been heavily criticized by the defense. (There is no jury for the trial; Judge Rowley is presiding.)

“Just a slight variation in the angle itself results in a massive disparity in the speed,” Webster said.

The testimony of the investigator was crucial because the defense has argued that there’s no proof that Crosby was speeding or driving recklessly before the crash.

At one point during Webster’s testimony, defense attorney Joseph Joch objected to Webster’s conclusions.

“Are we talking science here or are we talking what this man assumes?,” Joch said.

The investigator said, “You need to look at the totality of the circumstances … It’s the question you always have to ask: Does it make sense?”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.