The manslaughter trial of Josh Hastings continued today after an afternoon break with the defense calling engineer and vehicle accident reconstructionist John Bentley to the stand. Under questioning by Bill James, Bentley said that he'd been hired by the prosecution to review information about the case.
Bentley said it was his opinion that the Honda Accord driven by Bobby Moore was traveling 10-11 miles per hour when it rolled backward into the awing support and Chevy Camaro at Shadow Lakes Apartments after Moore was shot. Bentley said examination of the filaments in the car's reverse lights showed that the car wasn't in reverse at least one or two seconds before impact, though Bentley noted that examination of the car found that the shifter could be moved from reverse to neutral without stepping on the brake. He also noted the presence of Bobby Moore's blood on the rear of the shift knob, implying that it could have been knocked from reverse into neutral.
Questioning moved to whether or not the Honda traveled up the granite rock embankment as Hastings said it did on the night of the shooting. Bentley said: "My opinion is that the Honda did not go up that embankment," with Bentley citing the lack of disturbed soil, lack of scrapes and markings on the "rip-rap" granite of the slope and four-inch curb beside the street, lack of tire tracks on the slope, and lack of scrapes and other markings on the undercarriage of the Honda.
Bentley also said the "nested rocks" embedded in the soil on the slope showed no signs of having been moved or otherwise disturbed. "You hit this rock embankment with these teeth in it," Bentley said, "and you're going to have some kind of physical evidence out there." Bentley noted that when a defense expert ran an identical Honda up onto the rock slope — which Bentley said is a 33% grade according to surveying tools he used at the scene — the test car showed markings on the steel cross members of the undercarriage, while the Honda driven by Bobby Moore didn't.