ELLSWORTH, Wisconsin — A Wisconsin mother was in court Tuesday, June 28th to face negligence charges.
The crash happened on December 12, 2013 — and the Wisconsin mother is now on trial.
Kari Milberg was involved in a crash that killed three children — her 11-year-old daughter and five-year-old nieces. Prosecutors say she was using her cell phone seconds before the crash.
Milberg’s day in court for Day Two of her trial began with the defense picking away at Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Doug Ducklow — suggesting the tires on Milberg’s car were too worn to be safe on any pavement.
“I wasn’t qualified to give an opinion about the tires,” Ducklow said.
Jurors then heard a recording of the truck drivers involved. Two brothers said conditions were slippery — saying it appeared Milberg’s car lost control.
“There was snow on the road?”
“Yes,” Ducklow said.
“He told you in particular that he observed car slide in the snow on the road?”
“That’s what he said. Yes,” Ducklow said.
The prosecution is out to prove that Milberg was Facebook messaging on her phone moments before the crash, and drove into the path of an oncoming truck — killing her 11-year-old daughter and young nieces.
“I was familiar with the chat messenger when it popped up. Couldn’t tell you any names or anything that was written but it appears something was written in there,” Aaron Hansen, investigator said.
Hansen found Milberg’s phone four months later, after snow had melted. He described a Facebook chat log — detailing a string of messages between Milberg and Jason McKenzie. They were planning lunch and joking about being nervous.
When McKenzie took the stand, he was uncooperative and couldn’t recall even messaging Milberg.
“I just heard there was an accident…” McKenzie said.
The evidence shows the final exchange between the two came 19 seconds before the 911 call regarding this crash.
A state mechanical inspector looked at Milberg’s car and said the brakes and steering all worked properly. He did say the tires were badly worn — but were still legal.