Accused of causing the deadly accident that killed Allison Bell in 2012, 18-year-old McKenzie Farrow Crowe was in court Friday for her status hearing, where several witnesses took the stand and answered questions about the night that Bell died.
Crowe entered the courtroom crying, and continued to do so throughout most of the proceedings, which lasted several hours. Several members of her family were present to show support, as were about 14 people who were family or friends of the victim.
As EMS workers, deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers testified, they all told similar stories about their first encounters with Crowe, though some said her breath smelled of alcohol and others didn’t notice it, they all said that she was emotional, screaming, and terrified that her parents would be disappointed in her.
Newton County EMS Captain Carli Cuendet testified that Crowe was trapped in her truck when she arrived on the scene and that the fire department had to use the Jaws of Life to extract her before flying her to Grady Hospital for treatment. She said that Crowe identified herself as the fire department worked to extract her from her vehicle, and that she could smell alcohol on the teen’s breath.
“She was crying and upset. She just kept screaming ‘leave me, help the other people, I just want to die!’”
George Johnson, Jr., an EMT with Newton County, said that Crowe admitted to having been at a party drinking that night while he was inside the vehicle with her, covering her face so that glass shards wouldn’t cut her while they were attempting to extract her. He also said that he did not smell alcohol on her breath while in her car, but did when she was in the ambulance and away from the fumes from the airbag.
“She just kept hollering and screaming to not tell her parents because they would be so disappointed, and just to let her die and help the other people,” he said.
Newton County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Ramsey said that Crowe told him she didn’t know what happened, just that she had been in an accident. And Sgt. John Cronin with the GSP said when he went to Grady to get a sample of Crowe’s blood roughly two hours after the accident, she told him she wasn’t sure if she had been wearing her seatbelt, but admitted to drinking Four Loko, a malt liquor that has a higher alcohol content than other malt liquors available. Ramsey added she couldn’t remember how much she’d had to drink.
“She was upset,” Cronin said. “She was concerned that the hospital was going to tell her father the specifics of the crash. I told her that at some point he would find out and it was best to come from her.”
All emergency personnel who came in contact with Crowe that evening said they did not tell her that Bell had been killed in the accident. It’s still unclear when she learned that Bell had been killed in the head-on collision.
According to Kasey Wilson, a forensic toxicologist with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Crowe’s blood came back with an alcohol content of 0.102 when it was tested on Feb. 16, 2012.
GSP also testified that during the walk-through of the crash scene, there were tire marks and gouge marks in the pavement that appeared were made when Crowe crossed over the center line and hit Bell’s Explorer head on. The impact of the crash caused Bell, who was not belted in, to be partially ejected from her vehicle, and for one of her tires to come off her vehicle, which ended up in a ditch on the side of the road.