- Posted January 19, 2014 by
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Man runs over 6 year old on sidewalk while under the influence of alcohol and talking on cell phone
Denham Spring 6-year-old Tyler Myers, right, was killed Sept. 24, 2012, when a truck driven by his next-door neighbor, then-32-year-old Brad Welch, right, ran over Tyler in Welch's driveway. Tyler was riding his scooter on the sidewalk and had fallen into the driveway as Welch pulled into it. Welch was on trial Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, in 21st Judicial District Court for negligent homicide. (Livinston Parish Sheriff's Office, Facebook.com)
Emily Lane, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Emily Lane, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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on January 17, 2014 at 1:40 PM, updated January 18, 2014 at 6:20 AM
A bench trial was recessed Friday afternoon after a Livingston Parish judge heard testimony in the trial of a Denham Springs man accused of negligent homicide for running over his 6-year-old next-door neighbor with his truck.
Defendant Brad Welch, 34, sat silent in a dark suit throughout Friday’s testimony, which centered mostly on a 12-second period that resulted in the death of Tyler Myers. Tyler died Sept. 12, 2012, after the boy fell off his scooter into his next-door neighbor’s driveway and was run over by Welch’s truck as Welch returned home from picking up his 3-year-old daughter from dance class. Welch admitted to police he had a glass of wine prior to getting behind the wheel and was talking on his cell phone with his mother when he struck Tyler. He claims he never saw the child lying in his driveway.
21st Judicial District Judge Robert Morrison, who will decide Welch’s fate, heard testimony from two Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office officers, a forensic analyst, a traffic accident reconstruction expert and the boy’s mother, Ericka Myers.
The trial recessed because a witness for the state had a scheduling conflict. The next trial date hasn’t yet been scheduled.
Assistant District Attorney Greg Murphy told NOLA.com | The Times Picayune after the court recessed that the state’s last witness, a toxicologist, will testify Welch was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Though Welch’s blood alcohol content measured 0.06, two-and-a-half hours after the accident, Murphy said “retrograded extrapolation” will show his BAC was over the legal limit of 0.08 at when his pickup struck Tyler. The passage of time allowing Welch to sober up between the accident and when Welch's blood was drawn makes the case he broke the law and is therefore guilty of causing the boy's death by gross negligence. Murphy said it's common to introduce retrograded extrapolation testimony in cases involving impaired driving.
Welch’s attorney, questioning the state’s crash reconstruction expert witness, Michael Gillen, picked up on Gillen’s testimony that a number of sight restrictions gave Welch a mere five-second opportunity to view the child lying in his driveway. Parts of Welch's truck, including the driver's side windshield support, the side-view mirror and the hood, restricted his vision the most. Additionally the five-second opportunity only applied if Welch looked out the side window to his left right before he turned toward his driveway. As Thiel pointed out during his cross-examination, Welch was inhibited from looking to his left since he was still driving forward and would have had to focus on potential oncoming traffic.
Supporters of both the Myers family and Welch overfilled the small courtroom. Patrons, including Tyler’s parents, sat in the jury box, a handful adults sat cross-legged on the floor and more than a dozen others stood during about four hours of testimony.
When Ericka Myers spoke through sobs about seeing her son in a pool of his blood after the accident, sniffles could be heard from all directions in the courtroom.
“She’s stronger than me,” Tyler’s father, Jamie Myers said of his wife's testimony.
Myers said her older son Peyton, age 10 at the time, witnessed the accident and alerted her to it. When she went outside, she said, she shouted, "Brad, what did you do?" She said he told her, "Oh my God," and also that he hit the scooter first and then Tyler. "I said, 'Brad, do something,'" she said loudly through tears.
She said she couldn't give her son CPR because, "there was too much blood." She recalled an emergency responder pushing her out of the way and then later getting out a blue tarp to place over Tyler. Her words trailed off.
Jamie Myers said after court recessed it was nice to hear the evidence from the more than 3-year-old case come out in a courtroom. He and his wife clenched hands throughout the trial. At times, each fixed his and her eyes on a vague, distant spot near the floor.
Welch declined to comment after the trial. His attorney Michael Thiel said in his opening statement the death of Tyler was a “horrible, tragic, unavoidable accident,” but Welch did not break any laws and couldn’t have been expected to see the child because of a number of sight restrictions as he pulled into his driveway.
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Emily Lane is a news reporter based in Baton Rouge. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 504.717-7699. You can also keep up with all her local updates on Twitter (@emilymlane) and through NOLA.com Baton Rouge on Facebook.
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