Hit-and-run trial focuses on damage to windshield of suspect's car

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PITTSFIELD — Damage to Sally Gould's windshield appeared to be consistent with hitting an animal or person, a windshield repair technician testified Wednesday.

Brian Ciavola, a quality control manager for Safelite Auto Glass, said the damage did not appear to be caused by a rock, as Gould told police.

His testimony in Berkshire Superior Court took place on the second day of the trial of Gould and her husband, John Gould, in a Feb. 9, 2016, hit-and-run that left Cheryl J. LeClaire in a coma.

Sally Gould, 73, is accused of striking LeClaire, then 54, and then leaving the scene. The Williamstown couple is accused of giving false information to investigators about the damage to the car and Sally Gould's involvement.

Evidence found at the scene of the accident led investigators to a late-model Honda. Once an alert went out looking for such a vehicle with front-end damage, a witness reported to police that a 2014 Honda CRV was parked at the Gould residence.

Sally Gould allegedly told police the front-end damage was from a collision in a parking lot and the windshield damage was from a rock falling from a truck on Route 7 in Vermont.

But Ciavola said a rock strike would have left behind some amount of debris and that being hit by ice would likely have pierced the layer of polyvinyl butyral that is sandwiched between the two sheets of glass in a windshield.

Ciavola said that, based on his experience, the pattern of damage was consistent with having struck an animal or person.

Under cross-examination by Sally Gould's attorney, David Hoose, Ciavola said he also didn't see any hair, fur or fibers from clothing in the damage.

The damaged windshield was entered into evidence and displayed for the jury.

Ciavola noted that the windshield had additional damage since he had previously seen it, in mid- to late February 2016.

He said the additional damage likely occurred during transport and storage and appeared to be separate from the damage caused by the initial impact.

He said the call for service to replace the windshield came in about 7 p.m. Feb. 10. It was replaced Feb. 12.

Ciavola's testimony marked the end of court proceedings for the day Wednesday. Testimony began Tuesday and is expected to resume Friday.

Sally Gould has pleaded not guilty to charges of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, misleading police and conspiracy. Her husband faces charges of misleading police and conspiracy.

In opening statements Tuesday, Hoose acknowledged that the evidence likely will show that Sally Gould's vehicle had some type of contact with LeClaire, but in order to convict, the state needs to prove she knew she had hit a person and left the scene.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler. John Gould is represented by attorney Lori Levinson.

The case might go to the jury as early as Monday.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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