First up on the prosecution’s witness list was Eric McKenty, a charge nurse from Lourde’s hospital who was on duty the night of the collision.
He testified he was on duty when Pittman was brought into the hospital stating she admitted to having drank a “pint of vodka,” although it could not be determined through testimony at what time prior to the collision that had occurred.
On the defense’s cross examine of the witness, the jury heard for the first time when Pittman actually learned Jimmy Harper had been killed in the incident. When asked how she reacted, McKenty described Pittman as being “very distraught” and “tearful.”
Vehicle passenger Holly Hiett was next to take the stand after having stated on Wednesday that she intended to invoke her Fifth Amendment right.
By Thursday morning, Hiett said after consulting with an attorney, she was willing to testify, adding that she didn’t fully understand the meaning of pleading the Fifth.
The prosecution began by asking a line of questions relating to her injuries sustained in the collision.
Hiett stated her shoulder blade had been broken and her ribs cracked and claims to have no memory of the collision, adding her last memory is of her nephew’s birthday party, two days prior.
Upon cross examination by defense team attorney Jamie Jameson, Hiett was clearly in the hot seat.
After the accident, “Did you know they [law enforcement] were looking for you?” Jameson asked. Hiett admitted that while she was made aware of one person who had tried to contact her by phone, she said she was unaware that numerous attempts had been made to locate her.
The defense lead the witness down a line of questioning concerning past behaviors including drinking alcohol to which Hiett admitted to.
“Are you aware of your demeanor when you drink" and "do you consider yourself to be a safe person?” The defense questioned. Hiett described herself as “happy” when drinking and answered “yes” that she did consider herself to be a safe person.
Jameson approached the witness handing her a copy of a DUI citation she received just a few months prior to the Harper collision.
Having shown her the document, Jameson said “Do you still consider yourself a safe person? Someone who would not put others at risk?
"Not only are you someone who would put someone at risk, you did it a couple of months before the wreck and then you did it again that night,” Jameson told the jury.
Jameson asked Hiett if during a much earlier conversation between the two, if she recalled saying that the stories she was hearing about the wreck made her “feel guilty” and that she was glad she didn’t remember it.
Hiett nodded yes as she sobbed almost uncontrollably from the stand.
A tearful Pittman looked on as Jameson asked the witness why she hadn’t come forward to talk to law enforcement about her possible involvement in the collision accusing her of being fearful she would have been charged adding, “I understand you are scared, but it’s time to pay the piper.”
Having laid out their line of defense, questioning was filled with objections from the prosecution who maintained Hiett is not on trial, Pittman is.
Next up to take the stand was Marshall County Deputy and accident reconstructionist Nathan Maxlow who provided jurors with their first look at the accident scene the night of the collision.
A large projector screen displayed troubling images of a crushed driver’s cab in the victim’s vehicle with diagrams marking the area of impact, which was nearly off the shoulder of the road in Harper’s lane of travel.
Maxlow testified that the “yaw” markings on the road indicated Pittman’s vehicle skidded sideways toward Harper’s vehicle continuing in a forward motion to the point of impact.
Maxlow testified that he discovered a can of Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink at the scene, near the area in which the vehicles had collided.
The 23.5 ounce container is 12 percent alcohol by volume. Maxlow said upon making contact with Pittman after she was released from the hospital the night of the incident, she stated she had consumed three of the energy drinks that day at a residence on Griggstown Road prior to driving.
“She told me she had had a bad day and needed something to calm her nerves,” Maxlow testified. “She advised her friend, Miss Hiett was extremely intoxicated and for some reason began to call her names so she decided to go home, which was in McCracken County.” She said Hiett became angry and wanted Pittman to take her to her grandmother’s residence in McCracken County.
“She said the next thing she [Pittman] remembered was unbuckling her seatbelt,” he testified.
Upon cross examination, Jameson questioned Maxlow as to whether or not there was any evidence indicating Pittman’s vehicle swerved prior to the collision. “So there is no evidence that the car was doing anything but going straight?," Jameson said as he continued to try to lay groundwork for Hiett's possible involvement.
Jameson set out to physically demonstrate how Hiett could have caused the collision.
Using a chair, he re-enacted Hiett struggling with Pittman as she drove the vehicle.
Further discussion ensued with the prosecution objecting to a later line of questioning regarding whether or not Pittman has a history of being "reckless" as Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship stated, “my job is not to prove whether or not she [Pittman] is a reckless person, it is my job to prove she was reckless at the time of the incident.”
Further questioning of Maxlow indicated at the time the case was presented to the grand jury, Hiett was considered to be a possible factor in the collision.
Testimony later in the day revealed Pittman’s blood alcohol level at the time of the collision was .07, however, a toxicology expert from the Kentucky State Forensic Lab and a retired toxicologist from the State Medical Examiner’s Office testified that therapeutic levels of Valium and Prozac were also found in Pittman’s blood samples, which the expert testified “added to the effects of the alcohol.”
Toxicology expert Michael Ward stated in his opinion, a person having these substances in their system could display, “slowed reaction time, bad judgment and not be able to operate a vehicle effectively.”
Testimony continued through the afternoon and is expected to wrap up this morning. It is not yet known whether or not Pittman will take the stand in her defense.