The courtroom was silent Monday afternoon as Dana M. Briggs slowly made her way to the witness stand, leaning heavily on her wheeled walker.

Briggs, formerly of Columbia, Lancaster County, was unable to tell jurors about the Aug. 10, 2011, crash that critically injured her, left her in a coma for several weeks and ended her career as a registered nurse. She was 54 at the time.

"I don't remember anything," she said, except she was on her way home from work at the time.

Briggs told jurors she spent two months in the hospital, followed by a month in physical rehabilitation facility. She suffers short- and long-term memory loss, can't drive, has chronic problems with her left arm and leg and was forced to move to Missouri, where her only child lives.

That's because Briggs needs help with some activities, she testified.

"At least I can walk with my walker," she said.

Racing? Trial began Monday for the two men accused of racing along Route 30 near North Hills Road and causing the crash that irrevocably changed Briggs' life.

Anthony D. Miller, 51, of 3620 Cayuga Lane in Springettsbury Township, and Julio Cesar Martinez-Ocasio, 39, of 216 W. College Ave. in York City, are charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle, racing on highways, reckless driving, careless driving and driving at an unsafe speed.

Miller also is charged with driving under the influence and aggravated assault while DUI. Court documents allege his blood-alcohol level shortly after the crash was 0.


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115 percent. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent.

One of several eyewitnesses who testified Monday estimated Miller's Mercedes-Benz convertible and Martinez-Ocasio's BMW sedan were going about 100 mph. The speed limit in that stretch of highway is 40 mph, police said.

Attorneys Seamus Dubbs, who represents Miller, and Kevin Hoffman, representing Martinez-Ocasio, said they told jurors the crash is a matter that should be handled in civil court -- not criminal court.

Both defendants maintain they weren't racing at the time of the crash, their attorneys said. And Hoffman said he's challenging whether Martinez-Ocasio was even involved in the crash.

The allegations: Springettsbury Township Police allege the two men were racing westbound on Route 30, just east of the North Hills Road intersection about 6:30 p.m. Police said Martinez-Ocasio moved from the right lane to the left, causing the left rear of his BMW to hit the right front of the Mercedes.

That caused the Mercedes to spin around and go over the concrete median, where it struck a Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Briggs. Her Cavalier then struck a Ford Explorer behind her.

Court documents state that at the scene of the crash, Miller told an officer, "I'm so stupid. I was racing that guy and he swerved over and hit the side of my car."

Martinez-Ocasio initially told police at the scene he was going about 40 mph, but later admitted he'd been racing the Mercedes, court documents allege.

Eyewitnesses: In addition to Briggs, senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott called five crash eyewitnesses to the stand on Monday. All said they saw the Mercedes pass at a high rate of speed, but only one said he noticed the BMW racing the Mercedes.

Timothy Kiehl said he was doing about 55 mph when the two vehicles went past him in a flash. He estimated they were going about 100 mph. Kiehl said it's his opinion the two cars were racing each other.

Prosecution testimony is expected to resume Tuesday.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.