By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
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By Stephen Lemons
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"Was Shawn Thomas in the car?" Powers asked.
"I said, I did not recognize any of them."
Gibbons testified that one of the white guys started running across 32nd Street, raising his shirt and reaching for what looked like the butt of a pistol.
"I said, 'Holy shit,' then I jumped in my car and took off."
Gibbons testified he made a right on Cactus and floored it. Still, the other car caught up with him, and pulled alongside, traveling in the curb lane at high speed.
"Did Eli have his window rolled down?" Powers asked.
"From what Eli told me, no."
"Did you have your window rolled down?
"No, I didn't."
Powers: "Tell me this, sir: Did you at any time notice how many people were in the other car?"
Gibbons: "I'm not looking in the other car. You'll have to ask Eli on this."
Powers: "Did you at any time see anyone wave a gun or anything?"
Gibbons: "I didn't see anything. You'll have to ask Eli about that. He's my witness."
Gibbons then testified that just before the intersection of 24th Street and Cactus, the other vehicle began to "fishtail," losing control.
"Did the other car hit the curb?" Powers asked.
"I didn't see nothing," Gibbons answered. "All I saw was the car fishtailing."
"Did Eli ever tell you he saw the other car fishtailing?"
"I'm not sure."
"Did Eli ever tell you he heard the other car hit a tree?"
"He said he didn't hear or see anything."
"Did you and Eli look back to see what happened to the other car?"
"I believe Eli looked back, because he told me it was clear; the car wasn't there no more."
"I'm asking you, sir, at any time as you were driving down Cactus as fast as you could on August 15, 1996, after you went through the intersection of 24th Street, did you look in your rearview mirror to see what happened to the other car?"
"Yeah. I told you, it wasn't there anymore."
"So you looked in your rearview mirror and you didn't see any vehicles whatsoever. Is that your testimony?"
"That's my testimony."
"Did you think that other car that started fishtailing crashed?"
"I don't know."
"Did Eli Miller think the other car crashed?"
"You never asked him?"
"He said he didn't see anything or hear anything."
Powers suspended the deposition there, then resumed it a couple of weeks later, on December 7. Powers began by asking Gibbons if he had spoken with Eli Miller about the accident or the lawsuit since the first part of his deposition. Gibbons said he hadn't.
Powers got tricky.
"Now, during your first deposition, you mentioned that you were coming from Bell Road down 32nd Street before you had the encounter with another vehicle that was dark green; right?"
"I didn't say dark green. I said dark-colored."
"All right," Power continued. "You told me during your first deposition that two guys got out of that dark-colored car and flipped you off; right?"
"Is it possible you were mistaken; there were actually three guys who got out of the vehicle?"
"All I saw was two."
Powers handed Gibbons the statement Gibbons had filled out and signed under oath.
"Look at the very first page, line 25. How many people did you say exited the dark-colored vehicle?"
"So it may have been two or it may have been three individuals that got out of the vehicle?"
"I don't know. Too long ago to remember that."
Gibbons had less trouble recalling precisely when he rolled his windows up and down. In his first deposition, he testified that his windows were down when the car cut him off, but up when he was speeding down Cactus with the other car beside him. Powers asked him to explain the contradiction.
"I rolled them back up."
"You rolled them up while you were at Bob's Market?"
"While I was pulling into."
"Habit, I guess."
Gibbons next testified that he remembers talking with John Barcello and Mike Henry about his altercation with the two or possibly three white guys in the dark-colored car. However, Gibbons said Barcello and Henry must have misunderstood him on the points of who raised whose shirt to go for a gun and who chased whom.
Powers asked Gibbons to refer to Detective Ripley's report on his interviews of Barcello and Henry.
"It states that you were driving at a high rate of speed and you swerved toward the other vehicle, causing it to lose control. Do you see that? Front page."
"I didn't swerve into nobody."
"So you deny saying it to John and Mike?"
"I deny it."
"And then it says you watched as the vehicle rolled. You watched Dana's vehicle roll, didn't you?"
"I didn't see anything. I didn't even see the accident. All I know is I saw him fishtailing."
"Can you tell me what it was you said that John and Mike got confused and thought you were telling them that you watched a vehicle roll?"
"I never even said it. They're lying."
"Did you tell them you got scared and left the scene of the accident?"
"I didn't leave no scene. All I said is I was scared because somebody pulled a gun on me."