Progressive 'Snapshot' saves a life by acquitting a man of murder

5:41 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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PARMA HEIGHTS -- A Parma Heights man accused of suffocating his infant daughter is a free man tonight.

A device from Progressive Insurance played a key role in his freedom.

"I was scared. It was a big relief," says Michael Beard.

He stands in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center a free man. Just last week, he faced 15 years to life in prison, accused of suffocating his 7-month-old daughter.

"You never watch your nightmares come to life, right there in front of you. My daughter went limp in my arms," says Beard.

Beard says when he went to visit his daughter at her mom's home at 4:45 in the morning, he found the baby not breathing, panicked and immediately left for the hospital.

But the baby's mom told a different story and Beard found him self accused.

"She told the cops I spent 10 to 15 minutes upstairs in her house with her daughter," says Beard.

Beard was charged with murder a year after his daughter's death. But then he remembered he had the Progressive Snapshot device in his car.

Snapshot records when a driver starts and stops a car, how fast the driver was going, and how many times the driver hit the breaks.

Defense Attorney Michael Cheselka says the records proved Beard's story.

"He turned the car off when he arrived at 4:44, he turned the car on at 4:47. He was only at the house for 3 minutes. That's too short a time to cause the severity of the injuries that the baby was presented with," says Cheselka.

The jury agreed. Beard was acquitted.

"It saved my life," says Beard.

Aside from the Snapshot device, the ruling from the medical examiner's office helped prove Beard's case.

They determined that his daughter had probably slumped in her baby swing, cutting off air to her lungs for a long period of time.

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