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Mobile Alabama Wrong Way Driver Fatality to Grand Jury

FOX 10: Judge sends allegations of Mobile wrong-way driver fatality to grand jury

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A Semmes man traveling north in Schillinger Road drifted into the southbound lane and collided with an oncoming vehicle, killing the other driver, a police investigator testified Monday.

After hearing the evidence, Mobile County District Judge George Zoghby sent the homicide by vehicle charge against John Criswell IV, 22, to a grand jury to consider an indictment.

During Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Chase Dearman repeatedly pressed Mobile police investigator Wildfredo Fernandez about whether he determined if alcohol was a factor or if Criswell had suffered a medical emergency.

That line of questioning brought an objection from Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Wright. She noted that prosecutors have not alleged an alcohol-related offense in the criminal complaint, only that Criswell caused a death by violating a traffic rule.

“Not part of the charge,” she said. “Not relevant to probable cause.”

But Dearman pointed out that prosecutors during Criswell’s bond hearing had made a point to say that he had just left a bar on the early morning of Jan. 31.

The judge allowed Fernandez to answer a question about whether surveillance video indicated that Criswell was impaired.

“There’s no way I can tell whether he was impaired or not,” he said.

Fernandez testified that Criswell traveled about 1,700 feet from a self-storage facility to the point of impact. He said the car was traveling an estimated 58 mph. He said the driver of the other car, which was going about 39 mph, seemed to try to avoid the collision.

“It does appear she swerved because the majority of the damage, I believe, was on the passenger side,” he said.

Dearman told FOX10 News outside the courtroom that client is a law-abiding citizen.

“He’s a good young man,” he said. “He’s had steady employment, and he is well-liked and actually loved in the community. And he’s never been in trouble before in his life.”

Dearman declined to discuss whether Criswell was suffering some sort of medical crisis on the morning of the accident but faulted investigators for not pursuing that possibility. He characterized the wreck as an accident.

“It seemed very evident that they have not looked to see whether or not there was any kind of medical emergency, whether or not there was a malfunction in the vehicle,” he said. “But the officer did testify by looking at three cameras, which tracked his pattern coming down, and he did not see him driving any way erratic or anything like that.”

Original article at: FOX10

FOX 10: Brother of man shot by Mobile police made threats from jail, prosecutors say

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The brother of a man shot to death by police on Thursday made threatening comments after his arrest, prosecutors said Monday.

Mobile County District Judge Spiro Cheriogotis ordered Tyhre Webster, 22, to remain in jail at least until a court hearing on Feb. 22 to consider a prosecution request to revoke Webster’s bond on a charge of shooting into an occupied vehicle.

A Mobile County police detective testified Monday that Webster made threats against police during a hone call from the jail, where police had booked him on charges of threatening a witness and reckless endangerment.

“There was evidence presented today of a phone call that Tyhre made from Metro Jail, where he indicated that he was going to harm the police if he should get out,” Mobile County Chief Assistant District Attorney Keith Blackwood told FOX10 News. “That evidence was presented to the judge, and based on that and every other factor that we have in this case, we asked that he be held with no bond, and the judge agreed and held him in that bond.”

Webster’s attorney, Chalea Tisdale, had a case in federal court on Monday. Lawyer Chase Dearman, who was standing in for her in Mobile County District Court, argued to the judge that Webster’s comments should be viewed in light of his raw emotions

“His brother was shot and killed by police,” he said. “His mother was shot in the foot.”

Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste has said investigators believe Dearman said Treyh Webster shot at police as they tried to serve warrants on Thursday at the house on Lakeview Drive East. The chief told reporters that the SWAT team returned fire, killing Webster. He also said investigators believe Webster accidentally shot his mother’s foot.

The woman, Georgette Sons, told FOX10 News on Sunday that she does not believe police were justified in shooting her son. She said police should simply have knocked on the door.

In court Monday, Dearman said Tyhre Webster’s statements during the jail phone call were general in nature.

“There was no direct threat. … It was just a general situation,” he said.

Tisdale told FOX10 News that she intends to oppose the motion to revoke Webster’s bond. She said she understands her client said something to the effect of, “I’m not going to let them get away with it” during a conversation with his girlfriend’s mother.

“None of the family wants that to happen,” she said. “They all want justice. … I do not consider that a threat.”

Tisdale said the phone call took place the day after her client’s brother died.

“He was distraught,” she said.

Tyhre Webster stands charged with intimidating a witness and reckless endangerment. Those charges were the basis of arrest warrants police were trying to serve both Webster brothers on Thursday. Prosecutors allege that both brothers last month tried to ram the victim of a robbery committed by Treyh Webster. Treyh Webster fired five shots into the air, according to the allegations.

Prosecutors contend the encounter was an attempt to pressure the victim into not testifying.

Original found on Fox 10