More Emotional Testimony in Drunk Driving Sentencing

A second day of testimony featured technical information and more emotional testimony

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More emotional testimony Wednesday in the sentencing phase of confessed drunk driver Walter Chidyausiku. (Published Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014)

    More emotional testimony late Wednesday afternoon during the sentencing phase for a confessed drunk driver. 

    Walter Chidyausiku pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault on Tuesday. He admitted to driving the car that drove through a stop sign and crash into a Honda Accord, killing 10-year-old T.J. Sabur.

    Wednesday's testimony focused on technical aspects of the Sept. 1, 2011 crash, but also featured emotional testimony from Sabur's sister.

    "She was laying there and she just said, you know, 'a drunk driver killed our baby boy,'" Camille Cherry testified.

    Cherry was the final witness for the prosecution. It was, at times, heart-wrenching testimony as she described what she's been through since the crash. She was going to college in Indianapolis and told the jury how she was told of her brother's fate shortly after arriving back home.

    "I said 'what about T.J,' she said, 'he didn't make it,'" Cherry said. "So, I got off the plane and that's the first thing that I heard."

    Cherry, then 18, planned her brother's funeral while her mother recovered in the hospital. Jurors heard far more technical information about the crash before she took the stand.

    The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Officer Chief Toxicologist, Robert Johnson, testified that 90 minutes after the crash the blood drawn from Walter Chidyausiku showed a .12 BAC, well over the legal limit.

    "No one at .12 can safely operate a vehicle because of the lack of mental processes we talked about before," Johnson testified. "The HGM would be occurring at that level and delayed reaction time and poor decision making."

    Chidyausiku's intoxication is considered the cause of the crash, testified a crash reconstruction expert.

    Scott Peterson, working for Crash Dynamics but also a Euless Police officer, testified that he estimated Chidyausiku was going at least 63 miles an hour in the 40 mile per hour zone. Peterson said there was no evidence of braking or steering to avoid the crash.

    But the biggest impact on jurors, several seen crying, was Cherry's testimony, especially when she shared what life has been like after her brother's death.

    "My teammates almost all-four of them on the team have little brothers," Cherry said. "Seeing them at volleyball games was hard. Just sometimes I don't feel like a sister anymore, not a big sister any ways."

    Wes Ball, Chidyausiku's attorney, began presenting his case after Cherry's testimony. He called Chidyausiku's older brother Rason and Rason's wife. 

    Testimony is set to continue on Thursday morning.

    Chidyausiku is facing probation to up to 20 years in prison.