Mother of Old East Dallas crane collapse victim testifies about learning of her daughter's death

The mother of the 29-year-old Dallas woman who killed when a crane collapsed into her apartment complex choked back tears as she told the jury how she found out about her daughter's death. 

A man who survived the ordeal also took the stand to tell his story of the harrowing day. 

You could hear a pin drop in the courtroom after attorneys played a video of Kiersten Smith singing in a home video. 

Her mom said she wanted the jury to know that Smith mattered.

She said her life mattered to her and to many others.

Michelle Williams could never have guessed that her last meal with her daughter would be at La Madeleine.

Smith had come over that Saturday to look at her mom's dress she picked out to wear at Smith's wedding. 

It was a happy time in their lives after her mom's battle with breast cancer.

Through every chemo treatment and doctor's appointment, Smith had been by her mother's side. 

This was one of the personal stories the jury heard on Thursday.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom, but were allowed to record video from behind a small window.


Cody Peacock was inside Elan City Lights apartment complex back on June 9, 2019, preparing lunches for his work week, when he heard the loudest ear-splitting boom and the building began to shake.

He saw a section of the building falling.

Dust was everywhere as he tried to escape.

His story of surviving and the details Williams described about how she learned of her daughter's death from Smith's fiancé are some of the most powerful moments of the trial so far.

Dallas attorney Chad Ruback, who is not associated with the case, said Thursday's testimony will likely stick with the jury. 

"It is one thing to hear technical details, but this gives perspective," he explained.


Old East Dallas crane collapse: Attorneys argue real estate company, crane operator were negligent

The jury learned that Kiersten Smith had just shown her mother her wedding dress hours before heading home. She was with her fiancé making soup and grilled cheese planning to watch Grey’s Anatomy when the crane suddenly crashed, the floor falling from underneath them.

Williams sued Greystar, the developer of the building under construction, and the crane company.

Robert Hilty, the crane operator took the stand Thursday afternoon.

Both Greystar and the crane company agree Hilty did not properly set the crane for severe weather before he left Friday night.

Greystar said the operator worked for Biggie Crane, but the crane company argues, by contract, both the crane and the operator were Greystar's responsibility.

"The jury will need to take everything they've heard and attempt to quantify it. Jurors generally get this right," Ruback added.