Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON — District Judge Jack Telle found probable cause for a Marshall Grand Jury to hear charges of assault against Jamie D. Morgan.
Morgan, 29, Murray, is accused of being under the influence of alcohol when his car struck a car driven by Jakab Faughn, 25, Benton, on April 19 near Brewers.
Deputy William Strader, of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, testified he was among the first responders at the scene. While responders worked to remove Faughn from his mangled car. Strader interviewed Morgan, who identified himself as the driver of the second car in the wreck.
“I detected a strong odor of alcohol on Mr. Morgan even away from the ambulance and out in the open,” Strader said. “His eyes were red and watery.”
Strader administered a number of tests to Morgan, who refused medical treatment. In Strader’s opinion, Morgan failed the tests. Morgan also failed a field breath blood alcohol level test. Strader added this test showed a blood alcohol content within the legally impaired range.
Accident reconstruction showed Morgan’s vehicle crossed into Faughn’s lane of traffic by over three feet.
“He had to be cut out of the vehicle and taken to a landing zone where he was transported by helicopter,” Strader said of Faughn.
Strader described Faughn’s injuries as multiple fractures and a compound fracture of the legs.
“He suffered serious physical injuries, risks severe impairment and there was a risk of death,” Strader said.
With probable cause and an agreement to implied consent for a blood sample, Strader took Morgan to Marshall County Hospital where a sample was drawn. Test results on this sample are pending.
Lisa Carter, assistant county attorney, asked Telle to bind the case to the grand jury for a possible indictment.
“We believe the defendant was voluntarily intoxicated and was involved in an accident that occurred when he was under the influence,” Carter said. “He admitted to driving a vehicle in the accident. The victim is still being treated for several medical problems.”
Morgan’s attorney Bard Brian said the facts of the case did not warrant grand jury consideration at this time. He called preliminary alcohol tests inconclusive, and added investigators could not fully demonstrate impairment was the reason Morgan was driving in Faughn’s lane.
“If we receive more proof, or blood evidence comes in, we could go to a grand jury then, but not with what we have now,” Brian said.
Telle said he found the preliminary tests to be sufficient for grand jury consideration. The grand jury will meet May 16, and is expected to return bills May 20.