Episode #18: “Courtroom Victory”
Scene 1: Interior of Courtroom - Circuit Court- Davidson County - Day
A group of Nashville business people wanted Joe to know that he was a valued citizen. So, the week before Joe's trial, the group pitched in to have printed and hung on the front of Bobby Ray’s Uptown Café, a huge banner reading: "Welcome Back Coach Joe Foster, Nashville's Favorite Baseball Coach!" Everyone knew that Joe would drive by the truck stop on his way to the courthouse. As planned, as Joe and Sara drove by the truck stop on the way to the courthouse, they were touched by the message on the banner and it lifted their spirits, at a critical time.
The atmosphere is tense in the courtroom. For today, is the day that the verdict is to be announced in Joe Foster's case against truck driver, Bill Elkins, who feel asleep at the wheel of his eighteen-wheeler and hit Coach Foster.
To appreciate the mood of the courtroom, we must re-cap what lead up to Joe Foster's case. As you remember, the night the beloved Coach Joe Foster was hit by the eighteen-wheeler; Sara Foster and her sister, Linda Johnson, drove Jeremy home, after his baseball game. Coach Foster said goodbye to his family and stayed behind at the ballpark to lock up the facility and turn off the field lights. Over the months following the accident, Sara Foster replayed in her mind countless times, her last goodbye to her husband that night, before Joe's accident.
Coach Joe Foster got in his family sedan, parked at the ball field and began to drive home. It was Joe and Sara Foster's wedding anniversary, so he was anxious to return home to his wife. Who cold have predicted that this date would turn out to be so unfortunate for the Foster family? A date to remember for a terrible string of events; Jeremy caused his baseball team to lose their baseball game and truck driver Bill Elkins almost caused Joe Foster to lose his life, paralyzing his legs,…all, no less, on his wedding anniversary.
As Joe drove home that fateful evening, in the black of the night, driving on the same highway, (in the opposite direction from Joe Foster), trucker Bill Elkins put the pedal to the metal, tempting fate, in an effort to make his hectic delivery schedule. Worn out and completely drowsy, Bill felt he had no choice, so despite serious reservations, he pressed on. Even the strong coffee he had earlier from Bobby Ray’s Uptown Café, was no match for Bill’s exhaustion. Like a bruised and battered prizefighter, in a battle for his life, Bill struggled to keep his focus, his eyes open and on the road. For a split second, Bill’s eyes slowly shut, as he nodded off. Bill was no longer in control of his massive truck. On the other side of the highway, out of nowhere, bright lights from Bill Elkin eighteen-wheeler blinded Coach Joe Foster, as he swerved to avoid a collision.
But, as we all know, there was indeed a collision that night, of horrible consequence. Bill Elkins fell asleep at the wheel of his eighteen-wheeler truck and smashed into Coach Foster's car. That is what Bart Durham is fighting for today in court, justice for Coach Foster.
Naturally, the Davidson County Courtroom was packed with what seemed like all of Nashville. Joe Foster never imagined that so many people cared about him and his family. Sara Foster looked over the courtroom crowd and a tear ran down her angelic face. Sara was amazed at the many familiar, smiling faces of Joe's well-wishers. Support from family and friends were all that kept the family going, through Joe's ordeal. It seemed like their day in court would never arrive, because the Foster family hopes that their ordeal will be over when the verdict is announced. With that goal in mind, Sara and Joe Foster can use all the support the empathetic crowd has to offer. As Linda Johnson, Sara's sister commented earlier that morning, the decision made in the courtroom today, will determine the future of the Foster family.
The judge instructed the jury to announce the verdict. A hush of silence fell over the courtroom, as the crowd waited to find out Joe's fate. Would the jury rule in favor of truck driver Bill Elkins, or Coach Joe Foster? Bart Durham reached over and offered some last words of encouragement to the nervous Joe Foster. Joe and Sara completely trust Bart Durham, so although nothing is guaranteed, they feel pretty confident.
The announcement is made, "We the jury find in favor of Joseph Foster." The people in the courtroom are ecstatic with happiness at the positive verdict for the beloved Coach Foster. The crowd applauds and Joe and Sara embrace with jubilation. Bart and Blair Durham shake hands with their client, Joe Foster and congratulate his victory. Joe breathes a sigh of relief. Linda, Sara's sister looks at her sister, winks, and says, "I told you, we'd make it through this, sis!"
After the verdict is announced, truck driver Bill Elkins approaches Joe and Sara Foster in the courtroom. Bill apologizes to the Fosters for what happened in the accident. Truck driver Elkins assures them that since he has seen the pain he has caused the Foster family, he has vowed to always be safe when driving his truck.
Sara and Joe Foster believe Bill Elkin's sincere apology. To show that they forgive Bill, Sara and Joe convince him to attend Joe's first baseball game, the following night. Bill Elkins says that he would "love to come" to Joe's baseball game.
It appears as if Bill Elkins is now driving down the right path of "safety first". But will attending Joe's first baseball game, since his accident be such a safe move? Or will an angry crowd of spectators pounce on the truck driver and hurt him, just like Bill hurt Joe Foster? There is only one way to find out these burning questions and more. You know the drill; keep watching "Coach Foster Fights Back" on your favorite TV station and check back often, to this web site.