Madelyn Williscroft thought the truck would swerve out of her lane.
But as she drove her sister and three other teens west on Route 40 heading to a charity soccer tournament they were competing in at St. Augustine in Richland, the eastbound truck continuing coming at them from the oncoming lane.
So she quickly cut right, hoping to get out of the truck’s path. But Nicholas Garreffi struck the car on the back driver’s side — right where 14-year-old Aisling Cooke was sitting.
Williscroft wiped tears away as she recalled the 2014 crash that killed her teammate. It was Williscroft’s 18th birthday.
The soft cry of Cooke’s mother could be heard as Williscroft and two of the other teenage passengers testified at Garreffi’s vehicular homicide trial Tuesday.
Garreffi is accused of being under the influence of Xanax when he crossed the center lane that Saturday morning, clipping a box truck and then crashing into the car full of young soccer players before striking a tree in the woods.
The defense says it was just a terrible accident, and that Garreffi was distracted — not drugged — when the crash happened.
Williscroft, who had made sure all her passengers were wearing their seatbelts, then checked to make sure they were all ok, testified one passenger, identified only by the initials K.B. since she is a minor.
G.S., who was sitting in the back between Cooke and K.B., tapped her on the shoulder: “Aisling’s not OK,” K.B. tearfully recalled G.S. telling her.
Defense attorney Lou Barbone chose not to cross-examine any of the girls.
Cooke was bloody and her eyes closed, her friends said.
She was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s Mainland Campus in Galloway Township. She died four days later.
Several members of the soccer team showed up in support of their teammates Tuesday. So many people attended the trial before Superior Court Judge John Rauh that a courtroom was used for overflow, and audio of the proceedings was played there.
Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey is expected to rest its case Wednesday, after a medical expert testifies.
The defense will the begin presenting its case, which should go into Thursday. It has not yet been said whether Garreffi will take the stand in his own defense.