CLEARFIELD – The first day of the Richard Delisle trial wrapped up with a defense witness on the stand.
Delisle is charged with five counts of criminal attempt to commit homicide, one count for each of the firefighters who were in the utility truck at the time of the incident. He also faces charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.
Those charges stem from an incident at Gambler’s Raceway Park on July 1, 2007 in which Delisle struck a fire utility truck a number of times with his own vehicle.
To read an account of earlier testimony, click here.
Testimony throughout the first day saw firefighters involved in the incident take the stand. After the lunch break, a 14-year-old boy who was with Delisle when he allegedly struck the Hyde Volunteer Fire Department’s utility truck took the stand on the commonwealth’s behalf.
The boy stated that he was a runner for Delisle; the boy ran payouts to winners after the races were finished. He said that there was an argument between the firefighters and Delisle, and that there was swearing, mostly from the firefighters.
The boy said that after the first time Delisle hit the utility truck he told the boy, “Shh … I did that on purpose.” The boy testified that Delisle told the firefighters that he did not see them. He also testified that he saw the utility truck pull up behind Delisle’s truck.
He said under cross-examination by defense attorney Dan Bell that before the incident, he heard Delisle and the firefighters trying to negotiate money.
Tow truck driver Shawn Owens testified that he was talking to firefighter Dave Sell when his nephew pulled him out of the way of Delisle’s truck. He testified as the force of the impact as well.
“It was hard enough to move the utility truck about a foot,” said Owens.
Firefighter Mike Woodling testified as to what happened when the firefighters were in the vehicle when it was struck.
“After the first impact, we weren’t real sure what was going on … then he backed into us a second time,” said Woodling.
Woodling testified that he and others attempted to get one of the firefighters trapped in the vehicle throughout the impacts out of the vehicle.
Firefighter Mike Larson testified that he saw Delisle attempt to give their Deputy Chief Ron Stiles a check. He said that he heard Stiles tell Delisle that it was not, that it was a piece of paper.
Larson also said that he heard Delisle threaten to kill them if they left.
Firefighter Ben Dysard, who was in the vehicle during the first impact, testified that he received a concussion from the first impact.
Cliff Charles took the stand for the defense. He was working the scales on July 1. He said that he was looking for Owens when he noticed the firemen gathered in the infield. He found that odd as another race was coming up, and he went to see what was going on.
Charles said that he heard them complaining about money. He said that he heard if the firefighters did not get their money, they were leaving. They were asked if they would take a check, and Charles said he heard them say no, they did not want to get screwed over again.
Eventually Delisle showed up and Charles said that Delisle and Stiles went to have a private conversation. Charles said he went to do some tasks and at one point he noticed Stiles storming back toward the firemen.
Charles said that the firemen were getting ready to leave. At this point, according to Charles, both the utility vehicle and Delisle’s vehicle are moving when they impact. He said that all of the firefighters exited the vehicle except for the driver, who had to be restrained. He said the firemen were trying to keep the driver in the utility vehicle.
He testified that Delisle was out of his vehicle at one point, made a comment then got back into his truck.
Charles said that by the time Delisle hit the utility truck the second time, all of the firefighters were clear. He said that Delisle then went around and struck the utility truck twice head-on.
Prior to Charles being called to the stand, Bell asked for the charge of criminal attempt to commit criminal homicide be dropped. That motion was denied by the Honorable Paul E. Cherry. Bell also asked for an aggravated assault charge to be dropped as well. Bell argued that Delisle was not attempting to harm anyone, simply the utility truck.
“I disagree,” said Cherry.
Testimony will pick up Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at the Clearfield County Courthouse.