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