Deliberations to begin in 2007 fatal wreck

A Harlem man charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in a May 2007 fatal wreck took the stand Thursday.

When cross examined by Assistant District Attorney Adam King, Brandon Christopher Newman, 26, said he had two liquor drinks before a party in Hephzibah and drank two beers there. According to a toxicology report, he also had traces of marijuana in his blood.

Mr. Newman was driving in foggy and damp conditions on Harlem-Grovetown Road during the early hours of May 13 with his brother, Cameron Newman, 23, of Harlem, Mallory Jason, 19, of Martinez, and Sarah Boykin, 16, of Richmond County, when he lost control of his Dodge Quad Cab truck and hit a pine tree, police said.

"It's not fair for everyone involved," Mr. Newman said from the stand. "Everyone's lost (something)."

Mr. Newman has been accused of racing with a friend before entering a sharp curve in the road, where the crash occurred. The one-vehicle wreck killed Cameron Newman and Ms. Jason, and injured Ms. Boykin.

Mr. Newman is also charged with serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with excessive blood concentration, reckless driving and an open container violation.

The defense claims Mr. Newman lost control of his vehicle after he was bumped from behind by a 1991 Chevrolet Blazer driven by a friend. Though Mr. Newman said he never felt his vehicle bumped, his defense attorney, Victor Hawk, said a slight bump is enough to lose control.

Mr. Hawk said Mr. Newman was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the wreck. "A person can ingest alcohol and not be impaired at all," he said.

Jurors will return to court at 11 a.m. today to begin deliberations.

Reach Jenna Martin at 868-1222, ext. 109 or jenna.martin@augustachronicle.com.