TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—The man accused of causing a horrific highway crash is on trial.

Weijia Jiang has more on what happened Thursday in the courtroom.

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The courtroom was packed with family members of the young victims who died at the hands of  a driver who was, at the wrong time, in the middle of an illegal street race.

It’s been nearly two years since Jonathan Henderson, 20, of La Plata, and Mary-Kathryn Abernathy, 21, of Columbia were killed along the interstate Beltway.

Police say on June 21, 2009, the young victims were watching an illegal street race when around 3 a.m., a car illegally unrelated to the race smashed into them.

“They just line the cars up along the side here. And it would be maybe about 80 cars lined up, side by side,” Tony Brown told WJZ in 2009.

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Now, the driver of that car—27-year-old Donneil Raeburn of Pikesville—is facing 17 charges for their deaths, including negligent homicide and DUI. The state toxicologist testified Raeburn’s blood alcohol level two hours after the crash was .16. That’s twice the legal limit.

On Thursday, defense attorneys called their first witness. An expert accident constructor says even a sober driver would have crashed under the circumstances, pointing to the surrounding chaos on the road.

Prosecutors maintain that alcohol played a major role in the loss of two lives.

“Anyone’s loved ones. It could happen again. No one deserves to go like that,” Brown said.

The trial will resume Friday when the judge is expected to make a ruling.

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Friends and family members tell WJZ they will not comment on the case until it is over.