Jury acquits doctor in fatal crash

A Richmond County Superior Court jury deliberated less than 30 minutes Thursday before acquitting an Augusta physician of charges that included vehicular homicide.

 

The jury found Peter Alexander McNally, 32, not guilty of all charges stemming from a vehicular crash that left a motorcyclist dead and his passenger gravely injured.

McNally, according to evidence presented during the four day trial, had a blood alcohol level of .116 two hours after the fatal crash that killed 52-year-old Ronald Lovett and left Elizabeth Landers seriously injured. In Georgia – as Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers argued to the jury in his closing statement Thursday – a driver is presumed to be under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08.

But McNally told the jury this week that he felt fine to drive home, about a mile from the Hooters which he left minutes before the crash. He said he drank about six beers on a full stomach during a three and a half hour period.

The June 24, 2015, crash between NcNally’s vehicle and Lovett’s bike occurred in the center of the intersection at Washington Road and Alexander Drive. The bike, traveling west on Washington Road, hit the car nearly head-on. McNally told the investigating deputy and wrote in his statement that the light for Washington Road was yellow when he started to turn left onto Alexander Drive.

In his closing statement to the jury, defense attorney Michael Garrett stressed the evidence that showed Lovett had so much methamphetamine in his blood system that night that it would have been a fatal dose for a new user. “The fault begins and ends there,” he said.

It wouldn’t have mattered if McNally had been completely sober, the crash would have still occurred because Lovett was so high he ran the red light and hit McNally, Garrett said. Maybe the reason McNally didn’t see Lovett was because his bike didn’t have a working headlight, he argued to the jury. The pictures of the bike taken after the wreck doesn’t show any headlight, he said.

The bike, according to photographs taken at the scene of the crash, was in pieces.

Reach Sandy Hodson at sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com or (706) 823-3226

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