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A Kittitas County jury is deliberating a vehicular assault case against a Cle Elum man.

Jordan Brickman, 29, has been on trial in Kittitas County Superior Court this week following an Aug. 13, 2016, one-car crash on the Upper Peoh Point overpass on Interstate 90.

Brickman was driving eastbound with four passengers in his Ford Explorer when the car rounded a corner, left the roadway, rolled and hit a tree before coming to a rest on its top.

The cause of the accident was alcohol and excessive speed, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Brickman had a blood alcohol level of 0.13, according to court documents.

Terrence Cushing, one of the passengers, died at the scene. Brickman pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the case, so this week’s trial focused on a vehicular assault charge related to passenger Justin Cushing. Brad Tschauner and Michael Couey also were passengers in the car.

The group of friends went golfing in the morning and spent the day at Lake Cle Elum. The crash occurred as they were headed to a casino around 4 p.m., Prosecutor Greg Zempel said.

While others in the car had been drinking and using marijuana, Brickman was responsible for Terrence’s death and Justin’s injuries, Zempel said.

“When you get behind a wheel and you are under the influence … you are the one responsible,” he said.

The trial focused on whether the Justin Cushing’s injuries met the definition of “substantial bodily harm” as spelled out in the law. Zempel said they did.

He said Justin Cushing struggled to get back to work and was in pain, and jurors should find Brickman guilty of the charge.

Brickman’s attorney, Brian Ashbach, pointed to Justin Cushing’s timecard which showed him working right after the crash, and to testimony that Cushing was hitting golf balls and skiing in the weeks and months following.

“You have to find not guilty; the injuries were not caused by the motor vehicle accident,” he said.

Zempel said Cushing struggled after the crash, and couldn’t work as many hours as he did before.

Medical experts offered differing opinions on Justin Cushing’s injuries during testimony this week.

Ashbach acknowledged the case was difficult for everyone, and Brickman pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide because it was the right thing to do.

The trial started Tuesday with closing statements on Thursday afternoon.


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