A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy facing criminal charges of reckless driving tried to put the blame on the victim in court today.
Investigators say Deputy Brandon Hegele was driving more than 100 miles per hour despite orders to break off his chase of a car when he slammed his cruiser into the back of a smart car in May 2016 on Southern Blvd.
Hegele’s trial is scheduled for January 2017 and his defense team announced Monday they have an expert who could testify the driver of the smart car failed to look in his mirrors before making a U-turn on Southern Blvd.
“It would be the state’s belief, that he looked in the mirror but [Hegele’s] driving was so reckless that there’s no time to act,” the Assistant State Attorney said.
Harry Deshommes, the driver of the smart car, suffered traumatic brain injury and a broken back from the crash.
“That’s why we can’t go 105 mph on Southern Blvd in the middle of the afternoon,” the Assistant State Attorney added.
Deshommes now has around the clock care at an assisted living facility.
The judge agreed to keep the mention of the victim not looking into his mirrors out of the trial, but the defense can argue Hegele’s cruiser could have been in the victim’s field of sight.
Dash cam video released from the May 2016 incident shows Deputy Brandon Hegele speeding down Southern Blvd at 105 miles per hour before smashing into the back of the smart car.
Radio transmission indicates Hegele ignored three separate commands to slow down.
The defense also said their expert will claim to see something that resembles a phone in the driver’s hand in the video from the crash.
“There’s a rectangular black shaped object and it’s consistent with the size and the shape of an IPhone 4S,” Hegele’s attorney said.
The state reported that Deshommes’s cell phone records show he was not using his phone at the time.
The judge said the defense is allowed to argue Deshommes may have been distracted at trial.