PARIS — The father of Kristina Lowe testified this morning that as his daughter rested in a hospital bed, she told him and her mother that while looking at her cell phone, she lost control of the vehicle she was driving on Jan. 7, 2012.

The accident killed two passengers in the back of the vehicle and injured Lowe and another passenger, Jacob Skaff.

Lowe, 21, is on trial in Oxford County Superior Court facing two charges of vehicular manslaughter and three other charges related to the accident.

The defense rested its case Wednesday morning and the state offered its closing statements. Defense attorney James Howaniec offered his closing statements in the afternoon. The jury is expected to receive its instructions from the judge and begin deliberations tomorrow morning.

Lowe did not testify at the trial. If she is convicted on all counts, she could face more than 60 years in jail.

Lowe’s father, Earl Lowe, did not show up at the court proceedings earlier this week to testify, prompting a bench warrant to be issued for his arrest and a search Tuesday by area authorities. He had been subpoenaed to appear to testify for the prosecution by Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne.

State Police found Lowe Tuesday night and arrested him at his home. He was ushered into court by several court officers Wednesday morning, and seated in the witness box well before the jury was called in. After he testified, he was released and the contempt of court charge against him was dropped, according to officials.

On the stand, Lowe testified that while in his daughter’s hospital room following the accident, Kristina told him and her mother that she was driving the car — an issue of contention in the case — and looked at her cell phone when she heard it ring.

The father testified Kristina told her parents “she remembered her phone ringing, looked to see who it was” as the car began to drift. Then, “Logan reached from the back to correct left, and that’s when she lost control of the car,” Earl Lowe testified his daughter told them.

Logan Dam, 19, and Rebecca Mason, 16, both died in the crash.

Lowe had been given several doses of painkillers before talking with her parents at Maine Medical Center, and after her parents left the room she consented to be questioned by Trooper Lauren Edstrom.

During much of that taped interview, Lowe denied driving the car and later admitted she may have been driving when Edstrom told her police believed Skaff was the passenger.

Wednesday was the sixth day of the trial. Lowe is also charged with two counts of aggravated criminal operating under the influence and one count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. All of the charges she faces are felonies.

After Lowe testified, the defense re-called physicist Dale Syphers back to the stand for cross examination. His testimony was stopped at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph O’Connor picked apart Syphers’ prior testimony that conflicted with the State Police accident reconstruction results, and asked Syphers whether he was an accredited accident reconstructionist or a member of any accident reconstruction professional association. He was not, Syphers said, nor had he ever had any of his 200 or so accident reconstruction evaluations peer-reviewed, which is required of accredited reconstructionists.

O’Connor asked whether Syphers was aware that the National Highway Transportation Safety Board set minimum standards for accident reconstruction, the same standards that State Police Trooper Daniel Hanson used for his reconstruction evaluation, and Syphers said he was, but that he believed those standards to be flawed and could be improved.

Hanson’s reconstruction put the speed of the Lowe car at 75 mph on a road zoned for 50 mph just before the wreck, and about 71 mph when the car went airborne. Syphers’ evaluation had the car traveling more slowly along the road and moving a maximum of 57 mph while in the air.

That difference in speed resulted in two different estimates of the distance the car traveled in the air, but Syphers and Hanson were both agreed that the car hit a tree roof-first at about 7.5 feet up from the ground at high-speed, breaking the tree and damaging others around it as the car came to rest.

Skaff testified earlier this week that he remembers that once he and Lowe got out of the car, they had to climb up an incline to get to the road and walked more than a mile back to a party they had been attending at 12 Yeaton Lane in West Paris.

Lowe and Skaff both suffered broken backs in the accident.

Deb Sande of Norway, who is Logan Dam’s mother, had attended the trial last week but was too upset to be in the courtroom Monday or Tuesday this week. She returned late Wednesday morning to hear closing arguments. Mason’s father, Jerrold Mason, has attended each day of the trial, as have a number of other family members and friends.

Lowe’s mother, Melissa Stanley of Oxford, has also attended each day of the trial, supported by family members and friends. She left the courtroom during Earl Lowe’s testimony Wednesday morning, by direction of a court officer, and returned once that testimony was complete.

Tomorrow morning, Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford will give the jury instruction on the law they must consider in evaluating this case, after which the jury will begin deliberations.  


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