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Day 1 of Leggio trial; couple killed in Thanksgiving Day pileup one year ago
JEFFERSON COUNTY-By: Leslie Rangel
It was a long day of testimony as both the plaintiffs attorneys and the defense began presenting their cases to the jury in the civil trial on behalf of Debra and Vincent Leggio who were killed in a 100 car pile-up last Thanksgiving in Jefferson County near Hamshire Road.
The children of the Leggios believe despite the fog and massive collision, their parents did not have to die.
The couple was in their 60's and lived in Pearland.
They died in the accident on Interstate 10 near Hamshire Road when their vehicle was trapped between a big rig and a car.
More than one hundred vehicles collided in heavy fog November 22nd of last year.
In addition to the deaths of the Leggios, dozens of others were hurt.
The plaintiffs argue the accident could have been prevented.
They say the driver of the tractor trailer failed to slow down in the thick fog despite warnings his company sent to him through texts that reached him in his truck.
According to the civil lawsuit, the driver has a record of speeding and safety violations.
The plaintiffs say the record includes an accident in 2007 that killed two teenagers
The defense says the driver should not be held responsible for the deaths of the couple.
In the words of one defense attorney, 'the driver performed safely once he got into the fog.'
The attorney says the driver swerved into a median on Interstate 10 near Hamshire road to avoid collisions immediately in front of him.
They also say most of his previous violations were paperwork errors or minor citations.
Kerr told the jury the accident in 2007 was not his fault, he says he struck another car after someone sideswiped him.
In court, Kerr described the fog in last year's Thanksgiving accident as blinding and white.
He said it looked like thick smoke and he says he didn't have enough time to think about what to do next.
We tried to speak with the Leggio family.
They said it was too soon and too emotional.
They also told me there were many details leading up to the accident about which they were not aware.
Tomorrow testimony will continue, the jury will hear from officers who responded to the scene.
Stay with KFDM and KFDM.com for coverage of the civil trial.