Monday Sep 15 2008
Residents recall night of fatal car accident
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Auburn resident Amber Ferreira was brushing her teeth when she heard a sound that made her pause. It was late one summer night in 2006 when the sounds of someone “whooping and hollering” and something that “just sounded fast” punctured the silence in her home on Bell Road. Then she said she heard the sound that made her run out of her house and down the road with no shoes on. Ferreira was one of the witnesses who testified in the ongoing trial of Auburn’s William “Billy” Moon. Moon, 23, is charged second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, both of which are felony counts for the June 3, 2006 death of his close friend, 20-year-old Stewart Shapton, also of Auburn. Moon has pleaded not guilty. The trial continued Monday with the defense starting with questions for a witness from Thursday. Moon’s Sacramento defense attorney Clyde Blackmon questioned South Placer County fireman Matthew Desideri about his previous testimony and his recollection of the night of the accident. Desideri was one of the first emergency responders on the scene June 3, 2006. Desideri had testified Thursday afternoon that he had helped pull both men out of the car. The alleged driver, who lived, was said to be found with his head in the back seat and his feet in the front, according to his testimony. The suspected passenger who died was in the passenger seat and Desideri said he had to cut the seatbelt to get the man out of the car. On Monday, Blackmon had his chance to cross-examine Desideri. In his opening statement Thursday, Blackmon said he intended to show how witness accounts had changed following the accident. He asked Desideri if he remembered testifying in a preliminary hearing in the Historic Courthouse in Auburn. Blackmon highlighted a portion of that testimony when Desideri was asked if he remembered where the passenger’s feet were. In that preliminary hearing testimony, Desideri said no, he didn’t remember. In court on Monday, Desideri said he did not recall giving that testimony. When Prosecutor Stephanie Macumber asked if there were any other way a person laying half in back and half in front would not have their feet in the center console, Desideri responded “that would be impossible.” At the end of Desideri’s testimony, Macumber called Ferreira to the stand. She questioned Ferreira about what she had witnessed that night when she walked the estimated 100 yards from her home to the crash site. She said she remembered two cars, including the car her husband was driving, had stopped at about the top of the hill and the headlights were illuminating the scene below. She approached the vehicle that had crashed, which was lying on the passenger side and propped up against an oak tree. She said she walked until she was about 10 feet from the car and “scrunched” to try and see inside. She said she heard noise and a little movement from what she thought was the backseat and she could see a hand. “I thought (the hand) was inside the passenger’s window,” Ferreira said. “That’s what I replayed in my head the next day.” Ferreira said she watched the hand for about 30 seconds, looking for signs of life. “I never saw the hand move and I was watching it really hard,” Ferreira said. Ferreira said she stayed on the scene and watched from across the road as firefighters began to work. She testified that she didn’t recall which boy was removed from the car first. She said she was in shock from the scene and from when emergency responders laid one of the boys down next to the car. “I was shocked they left him there,” Ferreira said. When Macumber rested, Blackmon asked Ferreira about more details from the accident. Ferreira said there “were a lot of people” around but she didn’t remember which neighbors were there that night. Earlier in response to Macumber’s questioning, Ferreira said she thought each of the trees hit by the vehicle along side of the road had remained intact. Blackmon then showed a picture of a large tree limb that was resting on the ground and had been removed from a tree that had been hit. Ferreira reiterated that she didn’t think entire trees had been knocked down but did remember seeing branches and foliage in the roadway. Ultimately, Ferreira described that accident as “traumatic” for the area. “Something like that doesn’t happen every day,” Ferreira said. Amber Ferreira’s husband, Chris Ferreira, also responded to the accident that night. He testified in court Monday but the prosecution did not complete its full examination before the court’s afternoon break. The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment.