DAY 2 OF HEIL TRIAL: Prosecution, defense focus on what happened during crash

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 11:59 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Day two of the trial against Jacob Heil saw more emotional testimony.

Heil is accused of getting behind the wheel, and hitting and killing 4-year-old Marco Shemwell. The crash happened back in 2018 near Kroger Field during a UK football game.


Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys are focusing on what happened during the crash. A firefighter and police officers who were on scene gave their testimony, as well as Ben Shemwell, Marco’s dad.

Ben said he and his two sons, 4-year-old Marco and 7-year-old Maximo, were heading home from a UK football game. He said they were about to cross Cooper Drive near KET. He remembers telling his boys to look both ways and watch the cars. He said they were a good distance from the road. He showed attorneys exactly where they were standing.


Ben Shemwell said he saw cars passing by, looked down at his sons, looked up and saw a car coming towards them. Ben Shemwell said he stepped back grabbing Maximo with him but did not see Marco at his side.

“I turned and looked for Marco and he wasn’t there besides me. I realized he had been hit. I looked very close to me. It took me a while to find him. There was another tree on down the way. I saw him down there and headed down there,” Ben Shemwell said.

Ben Shemwell said he saw Marco’s body lying at the foot of a tree. He rushed over. He said Jacob Heil also go out of the car went over saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

We also heard from a witness who saw the crash and from Officer Sago, who spoke to Heil right after the incident. On the recording, Heil admitted that he had a few beers at a tailgate party.

Officer Sago said Heil was visibly upset about the crash after seeing Marco had been hit.

Heil’s attorneys are arguing the crash was an accident. They say Marco stepped into the street. They played a video from the nearby KET building. It shows Marco running ahead of his father on the sidewalk. The crash happened moments later.

The officer conducting reconstruction of the scene said tire marks on the road belonged to Heil’s car. But the defense argued those marks could have belonged to any vehicles on the road.

Chase Dawson, the fraternity brother who was in the car with Heil during the crash, appeared to go back on some of his prior statements. The defense said he told police he saw the Shemwells walking on Cooper Drive. Today, Dawson said something else.

“Today I can’t tell you whether I saw that or not,” Dawson said.

The trial is expected to last four days. Day three begins Wednesday.

Jacob Heil
Jacob Heil(WBKO)

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