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Man accused of killing fire captain takes the stand

Published On: Jan 14 2014 08:15:30 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 14 2014 11:13:23 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A Shasta County jury is close to deciding the fate of Jered Barbour, the man charged with vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of Cottonwood Fire Capt. Mark Ratledge.

Barbour is accused of hitting and killing Ratledge, who was helping a motorist on the side of Interstate 5 during a hail storm in February 2012.

Tuesday, Barbour took the stand in his own defense.

During cross examination by the prosecution, Barbour testified he couldn’t recall many details surrounding the day of the crash.

Some of Barbour’s family members in the courtroom Tuesday were emotional while Barbour was on the stand. He even seemed to get choked up during questioning.

Ratledge’s family and friends were also in attendance, as they have been throughout the trial.

An accident reconstruction specialist also testified about the deadly crash.

He told how he used a dashcam video from one of the squad cars already on the scene of the crash, he went frame-by-frame, to calculate the speed of Barbour’s pickup truck at the time of the crash to have been 51mph.

Barbour told investigators at the scene he was traveling in that range, between 50 and 55mph.

The specialist testified that if Barbour had been driving just 30 mph, he wouldn’t have lost control of his truck.

As for if Barbour ever hit the brakes before the crash that killed Ratledge, the specialist testified there was no evidence that he had applied the brakes.

Closing arguments are set for Wednesday. After that, the case will be handed to the jury, to determine a verdict.