Troopers from the Georgia State Patrol took the stand during a status hearing for the vehicular homicide case of Christina Crowe who is being charged in the 2008 death of her 7-year-old nephew, Bobby Couch.Trooper Jeremiah Slayton spoke about the accident that took place on Nov. 7 at approximately 12:39 p.m. on Ga. Highway 162. Crowe was allegedly driving her vehicle south. 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 during the time reported there was no other vehicle in the area.
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 was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Slayton agreed that various things could have caused Crowe to swerve on the road and the accident could have happened without the aid of alcohol. When the trooper arrived, Crowe had already been transported to the hospital for treatment. After hearing from different sources that alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, Slayton spoke with the flight crew who transported her, and they reportedly told him she had the smell of alcohol on her person.
Chief Public Defender Anthony Carter asked if the smell alcohol could have come from a spill or if Slayton was certain it was on Crowe’s breath, but Slayton was unable to answer the question. He did say that he sent a sergeant from the GSP to the hospital to speak with Crowe and see if there was probable cause to request a blood sample.
Sgt. Fred Moon said that he went to the hospital, and when he began speaking with Crowe — who had been changed from her street clothes into a hospital gown — she had slurred speech, glassy eyes and the smell of alcohol on her person. Again Carter asked if he was certain the alcohol was on her breath, and though Moon said he could not be certain, he did tell the court that when he was speaking with her he was up near her head. When asked if different types of pain medications such as morphine would have caused a similar reaction (slurred speech, glassy eyes) as alcohol, Moon said "I’m not a doctor," and was unable to answer the question. He did take blood from Crowe, the results of which the defense is hoping to suppress.
Crowe remains free on bond, 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.