Trial continues against former assistant prosecutor on trial for wrong-way crash

Posted at 10:55 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 05:37:14-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich-- The trial against the former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor accused of injuring a man in a wrong-way crash is expected to continue Tuesday.

The incident happened back in November 2016 off Union Avenue in Grand Rapids.

Investigators say Josh Kuiper was drunk when he went the wrong way on that road, crashing into a parked car. Daniel Empson had been reaching into the vehicle for a jacket at that time.  Kuiper was not given a breathalyzer test at the scene, and three members of the Grand Rapids Police Department were disciplined for their response to the incident, one of them ended up being fired.

Opening statements on Monday focused on the injuries Empson suffered in the incident, with the prosecution arguing his everyday life was affected, while the defense said those allegations were exaggerated.

“Mr. Empson suffered a fracture to his upper arm, shoulder area. He was restricted to a sling for approximately six weeks, and during that time he wasn’t able to do his everyday tasks, such as normal work duties for him, or things such as his own laundry, or preparing meals, things we do in everyday life," argued the prosecution.

"He could cook, he could dress, he could do buttons, he could type. He wasn’t restrained. I think the testimony you’ll find is inconsistent with what you were just told on direct.  He could do simple functions," said the defense.

During Monday's testimony, Empson took the stand to describe in his own words the impact that night had on his life.

"I still haven’t played golf and I still haven’t one skiing and there’s still other stuff I haven’t done in the last couple years because I don’t feel as comfortable I should be doing some of that stuff," said Empson. "There’s still times when I try to throw a football or something and I get a little twinge."

Empson also discussed having to rely on other people for help with laundry and paying a neighbor for snow shoveling services.

Kuiper is charged with Reckless Driving Causing Serious Impairment. He resigned following that crash.