Tuesday, 06 February 2018 20:02

Reconstructionist says Whitmore never applied brakes; was traveling 69-72 mph

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Evidence in the first full day of testimony shows Marquis Whitmore was traveling between 69 to 72 miles per hour when he crashed his vehicle into a Honda driven by a 25-year-old Roanoke Rapids woman who later died from the injuries she sustained.

Sergeant F.A. Trueblood Jr., a former state Highway Patrol collision reconstructionist, told the court today in Halifax data pulled from the rental car Whitmore was driving on December 20 of 2014 showed no evidence of braking when he collided with Leslie Fishel at the intersection of East Tenth Street and Becker Drive.

The only factor which slowed Whitmore’s vehicle was the approximately 69 miles per hour impact with Fishel’s vehicle, an impact which ejected the woman from her car and onto the pavement, Trueblood testified.

There has been no testimony presented thus far to suggest Whitmore was being chased by the man who shot him in the lower leg, the matter which prompted him to leave the parking area of Forest Hills Shopping Center.

Jacobi Harvey, the man who shot Whitmore outside Tight Edge Barber Shop, told the court, “I never chased Marquis Whitmore with a vehicle.”

Harvey said, “I didn’t want to shoot him in the first place. I didn’t want to kill him.”

Harvey said he and Whitmore have had run-ins in the past. “For some reason he didn’t like me.”

The two had an altercation inside the barbershop which led to Whitmore leaving, walking past Harvey.

Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner said in his opening arguments, “Mr. Harvey was worried Mr. Whitmore was going to get his weapon.”

Harvey told the court, “I didn’t want any problems with him … He walked past me and headed out the door. I just … shot him in the leg when he walked out.”

That’s when Whitmore got in the black Toyota Avalon and sped away down East Tenth Street, apparently to go to the hospital.

As this was happening, Fishel was headed to get items for a family Christmas party. “Mr. Whitmore was traveling at least 70 miles per hour. The speed limit is 35,” Werner said.

Fishel had a green light at the intersection where the crash occurred, Werner told the court. “Mr. Whitmore steers the vehicle beyond the turning lane where six or seven cars are sitting at the traffic light. He swings out. That light is clearly red, people are watching in slow motion. Leslie has the green light and begins to turn, is almost through.”

That’s when Whitmore slammed into Fishel’s vehicle “so hard, so fast, Ms. Fishel was thrown out through the window.”

Fishel was hurt so badly she had to be flown Greenville, Werner said. Surgeons at Vidant told her mother, Patricia Coons, there was nothing which could be done to save her.

Coons told the court, “Her injuries were too intense. There was nothing they could do. They kept her alive (on the helicopter). She had heart attacks, so many things I couldn’t understand. They said her liver had been severed. We never got to speak to her anymore.”

Werner introduced as evidence a photo of Fishel about four days before the crash that her mother held close to her heart while on the stand.

Werner said evidence in the case would show opiates, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol were in Whitmore’s system during the time of the crash.

While none of the employees of the barbershop testified they could smell marijuana or alcohol on Whitmore, Roanoke Rapids Police Department Deputy Chief Andy Jackson told the court when he talked with the defendant at the hospital he detected the faint odor of alcohol and the stronger smell of marijuana on him. He passed the information onto Roanoke Rapids Investigator Jeff Davis, who has yet to testify.

Describing the crash scene, Jackson said, Whitmore’s car didn’t look as bad as Fishel’s. He described a debris field stretching for 75 to 100 yards.

Roanoke Rapids Officer Matt hunsucker described the crash site as “chaos everywhere.”

Tyrell Clemons, who is representing Whitmore, said in his opening arguments December 20, 2014, was a tragic day. “There’s no denying December 20, 2014 was a tragic day. There’s nothing to make you forget about it. The evidence will show a young lady lost her life.”

But, Clemons said, “What happened that day was not intentional. There’s no evidence that will even … prove Mr. Whitmore intended to cause that tragedy. The evidence will show it was an accident.”
Said Clemons, “It was an emergency situation more than an accident.”

He said Whitmore didn’t have a gun. “None of this would have happened if someone else didn’t fire a shot. The evidence will show this was an accident.”




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