An Anchorage trial in a 2012 hit-and-run crash began Tuesday, with prosecutors blaming Luke Jerde for pedestrian Zachary Mohs losing part of his leg -- and the defense blaming Mohs.
Friends of family of both Jerde and Mohs, who has been in a wheelchair since the Sept. 20, 2012 crash at the intersection of Arctic Boulevard and Tudor Road, were in court Tuesday.
"I'm not here to condone what (Jerde) did," said Shana Jerde, the defendant's sister. "It's awful to imagine how drastically he changed these peoples lives."
Reyn Krebs, who has been friends with Mohs since the two were children, says Mohs' life will never be the same.
"He's not in a position where he could take care of himself -- and, you know, that kid's taken care of himself since he was 15 years old," Krebs said.
During opening statements, prosecutor John Darnall said Jerde was reckless for getting behind the wheel on a rainy night when his windshield wipers did not work. Darnall also said Jerde tried to the hide Pontiac Fierro he was driving that night, then lied to police when questioned about it.
"The evidence will show he went through the intersection and took another chance, a chance that he could (get) away with his conduct by concealing the car," Darnall said.
The defense started its opening statements by saying the police didn't do a thorough job investigating the case. Public defender Chong Yim says as a pedestrian, Mohs is partly responsible for what happened because he was not wearing reflective gear or using a crosswalk.
"This was not about Mr. Jerde committing a crime; what this was about (was) Mr. Mohs making a mistake," Yim said. "The evidence will show Mohs was under the influence."