Defense Rests in Sweet Tomatoes Crash Trial; Closing Arguments Expected Thursday

"It haunts me every day," Brad Casler, the man accused of causing the crash, testified Tuesday

Defense attorneys for the man accused of killing two people and injuring seven others when he drove into a Massachusetts restaurant rested their case Wednesday morning.

Brad Casler is charged with motor vehicle homicide in the March 2016 crash at Sweet Tomatoes in Newton that left 57-year-old Eleanor Miele of Watertown and 32-year-old Gregory Morin of Newton dead. 

Jurors will begin their deliberations following the trial's closing arguments, which is expected to take place Thursday.

Casler testified Tuesday about how multiple sclerosis regularly affects him with dizziness, tingling, cognitive issues and "brain fog." He was diagnosed in 1996 and calls the disease "unpredictable."

His attorney claims Casler's multiple sclerosis caused him to lose control of the vehicle on the day of the crash.

Dr. Ellen Lahti with The Elliot Lewis Center for Multiple Sclerosis Care in Wellesley was the last witness to take the stand on Wednesday.

Although she never treated Casler, the multiple sclerosis expert affirmed that Casler's driving may have been impaired by the disease in 2016 at the time of the deadly crash.

On Tuesday, Casler recounted the day of the crash, starting with his job as a real estate broker, looking at a property for a client in the Newton Upper Falls area, which required him to drive.

He said he was headed to Trader Joe's in Newton while talking to a friend on his cellphone via the hands-free Bluetooth feature. Suddenly, he felt strange and told his friend he needed to hang up.

"I felt weird, my body felt strange to me, which had not happened before. I didn't know what was going on, and I said to him, 'I have to get off the phone.' The car was speeding up, and I just didn't know what was happening. I just couldn't control it at the time."

Casler said he doesn't remember the accident at all, only waking up later at the hospital.

"It haunts me every day," he said. "I don't know what happened. I just don't remember. I think about it all day long. I think about it at night. I wake up and shake at night. I don't know what happened."

Casler said he had his driver's license revoked after the accident, and no longer drives or wants to drive.

"I know that I'll never drive again, and I wholeheartedly accept that," he said.

Earlier in the trial, Meriam Saim, an EMT who treated Casler, testified that he told her that he didn't believe that his multiple sclerosis played a role in the crash, a claim his attorney has made in court.

"I asked if he thought that the multiple sclerosis may have played a role in the accident if he believed that he had a flare of sorts," said Saim. "He said, 'No.'"

Saim also said that Casler told her that he tried to stop, but couldn't.

An accident reconstruction expert who examined Casler's vehicle also testified, saying he didn't find any issues with the SUV.

The jury also got a look at photos showing Casler's damaged vehicle and pizza ovens that were crushed in the crash.

Closing arguments are scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

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