A new witness was introduced today at Iron Chef Lawrence Forgione’s trial, and more new witnesses may be called. Forgione is being tried for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for allegedly striking and killing longtime Santa Barbara resident Gilbert Ramirez on February 24, 2018, around 7 p.m. at the crosswalk on the 500 block of State Street. This morning, Public Works engineer Derrick Bailey testified in court that alterations were made to the mid-block traffic signal following the collision. The size of the lights increased from 8 inches to 12 inches, and a reflective yellow border was added to make the traffic signal more visible. The changes were made after the Santa Barbara Police Department expressed safety concerns about the crosswalk, said Bailey.
Forgione had testified on Monday, April 8, that the traffic light was green when he drove through. He claimed he was unfamiliar with Santa Barbara and was following his rental car’s GPS directions to Bank of America when the collision between the vehicle and Ramirez occurred.
According to court documents, officers obtained surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant. “The footage shows the defendant driving north in his vehicle and failing to stop at the red light signaling the mid-block crosswalk,” read the documents. “The footage clearly shows Mr. Ramirez crossing in the crosswalk at the same time the defendant’s vehicle fails to stop for the red light.”
The trial will continue on Monday when Dr. David Krauss, expert in human perception and accidents will testify for the defense.