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Atty: Cowboys’ Brent Wasn’t Drunk When He Crashed

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) — Opening arguments and some graphic police dash-cam video marked the first day of testimony in the intoxication manslaughter trial of former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent.

After months of speculation a jury finally got to see and hear what police witnessed the night of the crash that took Jerry Brown’s life, with his friend, Brent, at the wheel.

Irving policeman Kevin Palms was the first officer on the scene and showed dash-cam video of the event that was recorded in his squad car. He told the court he drove up and saw Brent pulling someone, facedown, away from the wreckage. The questions being asked the person were hard to so prosecutors put closed captioning on the video that showed Officer Palms asking, ‘Is he breathing at all?’  Brent responded, ‘I don’t know, I just jacked him out of there.’

Palms found a faint pulse but saw so much potential damage to Brown’s head he waited for emergency medical personnel to help Brown rather than risk moving him.

“Were you not driving?” Palms was heard asking Brent on the video.  “I was driving,” he said. “I got off on the ramp. It was wiggling a little bit.  I was trying to get to the stop sign.”

Brent said he was doing 65 miles an hour, and then later said it was 70.  According to testimony the speed limit was 45.

With the case involving a then-Dallas Cowboys player, the case is high profile.  One of the district attorney’s office top prosecutors, Heath Harris, feels the video is compelling.   “The evidence will speak for itself.  I mean, the judge has done a great job of getting us started and we’re looking forward to bringing more evidence,” he said.

Later in the dash-cam video, another officer questioned Brent about how many drinks he had.  When he told them less than five, he was given a field sobriety test.  Brent, who failed both a turn and walk and alphabet test, was arrested and taken to a hospital to draw his blood.  His blood alcohol level was .18, more than twice the legal limit.

But defense attorney George Milner questioned the tests.  “The tests that were administered were designed for someone my size, not his size,” he told reporters, emphasizing the football player is much larger than many Americans.  “The tests they were giving on the side of the road were designed in a classroom environment to be used on the side of the road under normal conditions; they were not designed for a high-speed, roll-over collision.”

Milner also cast doubts about Brent’s failing the alphabet test. He argued since Brent suffered some head trauma himself, some of his mistakes were inevitable.

“If I knocked somebody’s head into the concrete and said, ‘Say your alphabet,’ I’d question whether they’d be able to do that.”

Late in the day the lead investigator took the stand to defend field sobriety tests for the jury.

Testimony continues Tuesday when some Dallas Cowboys players are expected to take the stand.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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