Charnetski Bench Trial: Seventh day brings new crash theories to light

Local News

The seventh day of 19-year-old Caden Charnetski’s bench trial came to close on Tuesday as the defense continued to examine their witness from last week.

From the start of the day, at 9 a.m., both the defense and Dr. Stuart Phoenix, a mechanical and aerospace engineer at Cornell University, meticulously broke down photo evidence along with math and science factors of last July’s accident.

Dr. Stuart said his calculations led him to believe that Harolyn and Matthew Matteson could have been speeding on their motorcycle at about 60 to 63 miles per hour at the time of the crash. 

He also said if the Matteson’s went the speed limit on Westinghouse Road in Horseheads, which is 40 mph, Charnetski would have been able to make the turn from Westlake Street without a collision. 

This comes after last week’s expert testimony with New York State Police Investigator, David Bly, about accident reconstruction. 

He put the Matteson’s speed at approximately 30 mph, which is about half the number Dr. Stuart proposed on Tuesday. 

“It was somewhat startling to see not just the speeds that were being put out but the huge discrepancy between what the State Police concluded, in terms of speed,” Christina Sonsire, a partner at Ziff Law Firm who civilly represents the Matteson Family, said. “And now speeds being put at 60 mph or even 60 mph plus today, that was really something that was not expected.”

On Wednesday at 9.a.m, the court will resume as the prosecution cross-examines the defense’s expert and tests the theories Dr. Stuart laid out on Tuesday. 

“I would just say to the community that just like jurors are instructed to reserve judgment until the end, the community should do so too,” Sonsire said. 

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