Jury being charged in deadly cycling wreck trial
BATON ROUGE - Judge Mike Erwin gave instructions to the jury Friday evening in the vehicular homicide trial of Joseph Branch, and deliberations should begin shortly after.
Earlier Friday Danny Morris, the surviving cyclist from the 2012 crash, told jurors he's in constant pain and suffered neurological damage because of the wreck on Perkins Road. Investigators said Branch was driving drunk when he hit Morris and Nathan Crowson, who died in the wreck.
Morris told jurors he biked daily through the area where the wreck happened, and never had trouble with vehicles before Branch hit them. He also told jurors he and Crowson always rode with their lights on, and since Crowson worked at a bike shop they had plenty of access to safety equipment.
Morris also admitted he had smoked marijuana in the past, but had not had any the day of the crash. Under questioning from Branch's attorney, Morris said he rode bikes because his license had been suspended more than a decade ago. He said "I was charged with DUI, but I didn't kill anyone and I paid for it." The charge against him was later dismissed, and prosecutors said there's no evidence Morris was under the influence of drugs the day of the wreck.
During their case, defense attorneys questioned a state employee in charge of maintaining the state's breathalyzer machine, the Intoxilyzer 5000. Authorities said Branch blew a .307 on a breath test after the crash, nearly four times the legal limit, and had been drinking heavily in the hours before the wreck. Witnesses testified to his drinking Thursday, but said he split some of the drinks with other people.
News 2's Rob Krieger will have updates on the trial starting at 5 p.m.