BISHOP O'BRIEN LISTENS TO OPENING ARGUMENTS IN PHOENIX COURT
Pool via Reuters file
Bishop Thomas O'Brien, right, listens Wednesday to Anthony Novitsky, an assistant county attorney present his opening arguments on the first day of O'Brien's trial in Phoenix, Ariz.
updated 1/21/2004 6:35:55 PM ET 2004-01-21T23:35:55

PHOENIX — A pedestrian struck by Bishop Thomas O’Brien’s car was bleeding heavily but still alive minutes after the hit-and-run, a woman testified Wednesday at the clergyman’s trial.Kellie Gonzalez, an 18-year-old pre-med student and lifeguard, said she stopped her car in the middle of a Phoenix street on the night of June 14 after she spotted a man lying in the road ahead.“I’m a good Samaritan,” Gonzalez said, testifying at O’Brien’s trial on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. “I immediately put on my emergency lights to go out and help. I grabbed my cell phone and CPR mask.”She put her ear over the victim’s nose to see if he was breathing and “he began to cough a few times. Eventually, he just stopped.” Gonzalez said the man was bleeding from a head wound and she did not use CPR “because his bleeding was so severe.” She called 911.James Reed, a 43-year-old father of two, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.Attorneys for the former head of the Phoenix diocese argue that O’Brien did not see Reed, who was in dark clothing, intoxicated and jaywalking. They also say O’Brien, 68, did not realize he had struck a person.Earlier Wednesday, another witness testified that he saw a “large object falling off the hood” of a car later identified as O’Brien’s.Gerald Lewis, 63, said he circled back and saw Reed’s body in the road. Several cars had stopped, but O’Brien’s had not.If convicted, O’Brien could get nearly four years in prison. The arrest prompted his resignation, ending his 21-year career as head of the Phoenix Roman Catholic Diocese.The accident happened less than two weeks after prosecutors announced that O’Brien had struck a deal to avoid charges he protected child-molesting priests.

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