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Trial date set for accused drunk driver

Trial date set for accused drunk driver

BATON ROUGE (WBRZ)  - A district court judge tentatively set a trial date of Feb. 10, 2014 for the man accused of hitting two cyclists, killing one.

It's been nearly a year and a half since Nathan Crowson was hit and killed riding along Perkins Road, and his brother thinks the defendant, Joey Branch, is delaying the start of trial.

"[Branch], it seems like everything is stacked against him, and he's dragging it out for over a year and a half in the courts, and that just seems disgusting to me," Loc Crowson said outside district court Tuesday afternoon.

In January 2012, police arrested Branch and charged him with vehicular homicide, 2nd offense DWI and negligent injury for hitting Danny Morris in the same crash. Morris was severely injured and survived.

Police said Branch registered a .307 blood alcohol content, nearly four times the legal limit, during their DWI investigation.

In court, Branch's attorney challenged the validity of those results.

"What we're looking for right now is verification that everything was done accurately," DeVan Pardue said. "It's been all over the news and it's no surprise that was a very high reading. When you look at the evidence in the video, it doesn't demonstrate that level of falling down and slurring speech."

The defense grilled BRPD officers Cpl. Mickey Duncan and Sgt. Cory Reech, both of the DWI task force, about the inner workings of the DWI bus, the testing unit, and standard field sobriety procedures.

Pardue wanted to throw out Branch's BAC test results because the defense didn't have documentation the testing unit had been recently certified and updated.

Louisiana State Police agreed to turn over those documents rendering his motion to suppress moot.

"We don't like to assume thing too much because we want to base it on the facts," Pardue said.

Cpl. Duncan admitted to the court that after the crash he told Branch he wasn't at fault because the victims were riding bikes at night on Perkins Rd. He explained it's a common ploy to tell suspected drunk drivers one thing to get them to do what an officer asks.

The defense plans to use this when this case goes to trial.

Another status hearing is set for Oct. 8.

Image: WBRZ

 

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