BARTOW – Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | A jury is considering whether a Bartow man, Joshua Moore, should pay millions of dollars in damages for what one lawyer described as a street “showdown” or a case of “road rage” that turned deadly for an innocent bystander.
Amy Krupp, 30, of Lakeland, was fatally injured in a nearly head-on collision on the evening of May 11, 2010. Her then 10-year-old son, Aaron Orr, received traumatic brain injuries that left him unable to speak and in a wheelchair with a feeding tube, jurors were told.
Testimony began Tuesday morning, and the civil trial is expected to finish by Friday.
During opening statements, Lance Holden, a lawyer representing Aaron Orr and Krupp’s family, said the mother and son were traveling south along U.S. 98 near Illinois Avenue.
They were in no way part of a roadway dispute escalating in the opposite direction involving two trucks, Holden said.
Witnesses reported a white truck repeatedly swerved toward a red truck, causing the red truck to lose control, cross a median and strike Krupp’s 2007 Ford Fusion.
Richard Waters, who was driving the white 1997 GMC pickup, was found guilty last year of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and two counts of reckless driving. He was sentenced to about 22 years in prison.
Moore, 24, of Bartow, who was driving the red 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck, has never faced criminal charges stemming from the crash.
However, Holden told jurors that the crash wouldn’t have taken place if Moore hadn’t been chasing Waters.
“It was a matter of revenge,” he said.
Moments before the crash took place, Moore was leaving the Polk State College campus when he pulled in front of Waters, who sped up and changed lanes, cutting Moore off.
“All he had to do was let it go,” Holden said.
Instead, Moore stepped on the accelerator to catch up with Waters, and his truck became a “lethal weapon,” Holden said.
The lawyer did not yet give a specific amount being sought for damages in the case, but he hinted the amount would be sizable.
The lawsuit is seeking damages on behalf of Aaron Orr, Krupp’s child from a previous relationship with Brian Orr, as well as Krupp’s husband, Gregory Kyser, and their daughter, Destiny Kyser, according to court records.
Holden has said previously that the family also initiated a lawsuit against Waters, whose insurance company settled for an undisclosed amount before the lawsuit was filed.
Holden told jurors Tuesday that Aaron was severely injured and continues to need around-the-clock health care.
“We are talking about millions of dollars,” Holden said.
T.R. Unice Jr., a lawyer representing Moore, told jurors his client wasn’t responsible for the horrific crash, and he placed all the blame on Waters.
He insisted that Moore increased his truck’s speed to get around Waters, who was driving aggressively and dangerously.
Moore was also hurt in the wreck, and he doesn’t remember some parts of what happened because he lost consciousness, Unice said.
Moore’s ankle was injured in the crash, and he needed reconstructive surgeries and physical therapy.
Waters continued driving after the crash, and witnesses followed him to get his tag number, according to reports.