Father Testifies in His Child Endangerment Trial

REDDING, Calif. - A Palo Cedro man testified Tuesday in his child endangerment trial. Nicolas Myrtle, 29, crashed on Gas Point Road in Cottonwood in March.

Investigators said Myrtle was under the influence of prescription drugs and medical marijuana.  His 3-year-old daughter is paralyzed from the waist down. His 4-year-old daughter was badly injured in the accident.

The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday morning when the emergency room doctor testified saying that given his experiences, it was clear both girls were not properly strapped into their car seats or that the seats were not the proper type.  He said their injuries wouldn't have been as extensive if they had been properly restrained.

A forensic toxicologist testified, releasing her findings from analyzing Myrtle's blood sample. She confirmed she found a Xanex generic and Methadone in system. Substance levels found in Myrtle are within a low-therapeutic level.

Myrtle took the stand in his defense.     

He said he had been taking Methadone, Xanex and medical marijuana because of his back pain.

His attorney, Adam Ryan, emphasized that the reason Myrtle lost control of his car was because he turned around to fix his daughters seat belts, not because of the medication he was taking.

Myrtle testified that his driving ability was not impaired and that it had been at least seven hours since he had taken a dose of anything.

Shasta County Deputy District Attorney Toby Powell cross examined Myrtle arguing that he should have pulled over to fix the girl's seat belts rather than reaching back.

He also pointed out that Myrtle's timetable of when he took his medications that day did not match what he told the officer the night of the accident.

Myrtle argued he was overwhelmed, shook up and wasn't thinking clearly when he was interviewed by the officer.

The trial will start again Wednesday morning with closing statements, then the verdict will be in the hands of the jury.

Myrtle is being charged with DUI resulting in injury and two counts of child endangerment.

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