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Posted: November 22, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Crowe given two weeks to enter plea

Judge Horace Johnson Jr. granted attorneys for Christina Crowe just two more weeks to inform the court if Crowe wanted to move forward with a stipulated bench trial or a plea of guilty on charges that she drove while intoxicated and in so doing, caused the death of 7-year-old Bobby Joe Couch.

Teri Smith, a public defender for Crowe, said she, public defender Deepa Patel and Chief Public Defender Anthony Carter had been working on Crowe’s case, but they requested that the judge allow them more time to speak with Crowe about which direction she would like to go.

The charges against Crowe stem from a car accident last November in which Couch, her nephew, was killed. Crowe is charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, one count of homicide by vehicle in the second degree, two counts of driving under the influence, five counts of endangering a child while driving under the influence and one count each of failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the roadway and open container.

According to Georgia State Patrol Trooper Jeremiah Slayton, Crowe was driving her vehicle south on Ga. Highway 162 in November. Evidence showed that she traveled off the side of the road, overcorrected and then went across both lanes of traffic before finally running off the shoulder of the road and striking a tree. The point of impact to Crowe’s car was the right rear portion of the vehicle where Couch was seated at the time.

Crowe reportedly told friends in an e-mail that she came around a curve in the road and saw another vehicle coming toward her in her lane. The e-mail allegedly indicated she swerved to avoid a collision with that vehicle.

But according to Slayton, the area where the accident occurred is a straightaway and witnesses in the area at the time reported there was no other vehicle near.

Crowe, her young daughter and Couch’s younger brother were all sent to Atlanta hospitals by life flight after the accident. She reportedly suffered a broken shoulder bone and various surface injuries, 4-year-old James Couch needed stitches and had several bumps and bruises and Crowe’s daughter reportedly suffered a head injury and had to have several brain surgeries performed to remove one of her frontal skull bones to alleviate swelling. Bobby was transported to Newton Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Initially no charges were brought against Crowe, but when toxicology reports came back they reportedly showed that Crowe had been drinking at the time of the accident.

Recently, attempts to have certain information suppressed in Crowe’s case were denied by the judge. The state was not in favor of allowing Crowe and her attorneys more time, according to Assistant District Attorney Anne Kurtz.

"This is the last time," cautioned Johnson.

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