DES MOINES, Iowa — Opening statements started Tuesday morning in the trial of Keith Jones, who’s charged in a deadly street racing crash that happened nearly one year ago.
Jones is facing several charges including reckless driving and homicide by vehicle. The second driver involved in the crash, Robert Miller III was found guilty of vehicular homicide and other charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison in August.
Opening statements from the prosecution described the events leading up to the crash on Fleur Drive that took the life of 4-year-old Marcos Faguada.
The prosecution claimed Jones and Miller consumed alcohol before the crash. Surveillance footage presented in court showed the cars immediately racing off on Army Post Road before turning on Fleur Drive.
Jenifer Blanchard was driving south on Fleur Drive at the same time and shared her memory of being struck by a black sedan and what she saw after she climbed out of her vehicle.
“The first thing I did was, I heard screaming, so my instinct was to just run towards the screaming,” Blanchard said. “That’s where I went to, I didn’t really stand around or anything like that or look around. I just ran to where the screaming was coming from.”
Blanchard further detailed what she saw at the scene.
“A black sedan, and there was a child screaming, pointing, and then the other individuals rushed up and took control of the situation so I backed away.”
Another witness called to the stand, Brett Mendenhall, was proceeding south on Fleur Drive at the traffic light near Grays Lake. Mendenhall detailed what he could only describe as an explosion of car parts before he exited his vehicle to assist those impacted.
“Another motorist who had come to rest near my car and I, we proceeded towards the front end of the Genesis and the airbags had been deployed,” Mendenhall said. “So, upon reaching the car, I pulled the airbags back and discovered that nobody was in there in that car. At that point the other motorist and I proceeded south then to the main impact site.”
When asked who he saw when arriving to the site, Mendenhall said “there was a white Toyota that had damage to its front end, but then there was a black Honda that the front and the rear had both been completely crushed in.”
Mendenhall also said he could tell the driver of the Honda was injured and could see two children in the back of the car. Mendenhall and bystanders attempted to open the vehicle doors. He was handed a 4-year-old boy taken from the back of the car, who he gently placed on a blanket on the ground as emergency responders arrived.
Jones’ trial is expected to continue on Wednesday morning.