(WHAS11) -- The trial began Wednesday for Bryan Lee, who is accused of vehicular manslaughter in the 2009 deaths of Toya Buckner-Dioum and her stepfather, Sherman King, Sr.
Lee was test-driving a Dodge Challenger from Commonwealth Dodge down Fern Valley Road when he crashed into Toya’s Mercury Sable, killing them both.
Authorities believe Lee was going more than 100 miles per hour before he struck the victims while they were coming out of an apartment complex. Lee’s brother and a car salesman were in the vehicle on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009 when it happened.
Defense Attorney Jim Earhart said Lee was not wantonly acting while he was driving, claiming the salesman pressured him to push the limits in hopes of selling Lee his “dream car.” Earhart said the salesman told Lee to try the speed-enhancing traction control system, which took the car from 0-100 MPH in a quarter-mile. During opening arguments, Earhart also said the victims pulled out in front of Lee while trying to cross the road turn to left across the intersection. Lee, the attorney said, couldn’t avoid their car despite his attempts.
The prosecutor maintains Lee wasn’t pressured to do anything. A Louisville Metro Officer testified the “black box” of the vehicle showed speeds up to 102 just 1.1 seconds before the crash. Upon impact, the Challenger was traveling 82 MPH.
Toya’s daughter and Sherman’s granddaughter, Shatova Buckner cried on the stand while looking at pictures of the victims. A tearful family hugged and cried as prosecutors showed pictures of the demolished vehicle and a dented steering wheel, which authorities say was impacted by Toya’s body.
Following the crash in 2009, Commonwealth Dodge released a statement saying their salesman did not force Lee to drive at high speeds, and in fact twice asked Lee to slow down. The dealership declined to comment on the trial.
The trial continues Thursday.