UPDATE W/ VIDEO:
On Tuesday, the jury in the Brandon Lee Ferguson trial in Conroe saw the exterior and interior of both vehicles involved the fatal collision and learned gruesome new details that scientific evidence shows victims inside the burned van were still alive when it burst into flames.
click the arrow below to see what the jury saw, along with video from the original scene and a candid interview with prosecutor Warren Diepraam:
The trial is continuing and more information will be added later.
CONROE- Testimony continues today in the 9th District Court of Judge Fred Edwards where the trial of 23-year-old Brandon Lee Ferguson of Magnolia is underway in connection the deaths of five people in a high speed collision on Jan. 10, 2009. A sixth person was seriously injured, along with Ferguson for a total of seven victims.
The deceased were identified as family members Donald Lee Sexton, 60, of College Station; Curtis Charles Edwards, 70, of Pinehurst; 83-year-olds Lloyd and Catherine Edwards, of Salina, Oklahoma;
The youngest victim was Ferguson’s girlfriend and passenger, 18-year-old Kayla Ann Pratorius of Magnolia.
Karla Sexton, 59, of College Station was ejected from the van and seriously injured, but she survived.
The crash occurred at the intersection of FM 249 and Patridge Circle where Ferguson’s Chevy Cobalt t-boned a mini-van at a high rate of speed, causing it to burst into flames.
Because of his own injuries, Ferguson was not arrested until months after the tragedy when he was formally charged with five counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault.
According to a previous statement from District Attorney Brett Ligon and prosecutor Warren Diepraam, investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety determined Ferguson’s vehicle was traveling well over 100 miles per hour, at an estimated 117, based on reconstruction and information downloaded from the vehicle’s airbag control module. It was in yesterdays testimony that the Chevrolet Cobalt was actually going 135 mph just prior to impact.
The vehicle had been modified for high performance, it’s exhaust system straight through with no muffler and no catalytic converter. The vehicle was also equiped with a turbo-boost which was altered.
To make a determination as to the vehicle being high performance race car champion A.J. Foyt was called on and determined, yes it was converted to a high performance vehicle.
James Link, a resident of Magnolia testified Tuesday afternoon. He stated that he had just turned northbound on SH249 and was getting up to speed when a motorcycle passed him in the left lane close to 100mph. He said shortly after the Cobalt also passed him at a speed of nearly double his 65mph. Still another vehicle passed him, a red Ford F-150 but the speed was not excessive and estimated it at 75mph.
He stated that as he came up on the intersection debris was still sliding on the ground and the vehicles had steam coming from them. He then turned on Patridge, parked and as he called 911 ran to where two victims were lying on the ground. He said they were in bad shape and beyond his medical experience which was first aid in the boy scouts.
Link then ran to the van where others had the back hatch open trying to extract the victims. He saw a small flame and when he got about 10 yards from the vehicle it erupted into flames.
The District Attorney had the Cobalt preserved in storage at DPS in Hempstead. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office sent their wrecker to pick it up and bring it outside the courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Jurors were escorted outside and allowed to view the vehicle.
Many people passing on the street also stopped to look at the vehicle, take pictures and inquire about the accident.
Testimony ended for Tuesday and was to pick back up at 8:30 Wednesday with the medical examiner and several others planned to take the stand. In addition Ferguson is expected to take the stand.
Updates will be brought as soon as they are available.