On the first day of Andrew Cowan’s first-degree murder trial, the Crown alleged that Cowan set out to kill his best friend after bizarre car crash in 2012.

Cowan, 45, of Leamington has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder.

Cowan acted on a plan – “with a motive we might never know,” - to kill Edward Witt, Crown attorney Tom Meehan said Tuesday.

"Why did Andrew Cowan act in such an inexplicable way to kill himself and his best friend? This was an utterly avoidable crash," Meehan said in his opening address to the jury.

On Oct. 21, 2012, a pickup truck driven by Cowan hit a flowerbed in Leamington and went airborne, striking the roof of a building. The truck, owned by Witt, was going 145 kilometres an hour.

Cowan and his passenger Witt were both injured and taken to hospital. One week later, the 53-year-old Witt died.

Two years after the crash, after what police describe as a lengthy and exhaustive investigation, OPP arrested and charged Cowan with first-degree murder.

Court heard that on the night of the crash, Cowan and Witt were gambling at the casino and both men had lost money.

The Crown’s first witness in the trial was Tracy Tucker, a friend of Cowan’s.

Tucker said Cowan had sent her a text message before the crash saying, "Ed and I are considering suicide tonight. Just wanted you to know I love you. See you in heaven babe."

Cowan had sent her other texts throughout the night, but Tucker said she never got them at the time because her phone was dead.

Tucker said Cowan had never talked to her about suicide, but a week before the crash, he told her he was taking medication for depression. He wrote that he had a lot on his plate. "My dad has a bad heart. My best friend wants to committ suicide."

She told the court she feels responsible for what happened and she cried during some of her testimony. "I felt if I got the text messages, I could have stopped him."

The Crown says it is expecting to call between 20 and 25 witnesses, and the trial is expected to last three to four weeks.