UPDATE: Trial for truck driver in deadly 2015 crash postponed - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Trial for truck driver in deadly 2015 crash postponed

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Benjamin Brewer walks into court Thursday morning. WRCBtv.com photo Benjamin Brewer walks into court Thursday morning. WRCBtv.com photo

UPDATE: Channel 3 has learned that the trial of truck driver Benjamin Brewer, scheduled to begin Monday, has been postponed.

A new date has not yet been set. 

It's currently unclear what this postponement means for the newly-selected jury from Davidson County.

Stay with Channel 3 for more on this developing story.


PREVIOUS STORY: The jury has been selected in Davidson County for the vehicular homicide trial of truck driver Benjamin Brewer.

The jury consists of 13 women and 3 men. Twelve jurors and four alternates will be selected. They will be sequestered during the trial, meaning they won't have access television, internet or news.

Brewer faces six charges in the 2015 crash that claimed the lives of six near the Ooltewah exit on Interstate 75.

The trial is scheduled to begin June 19 in Chattanooga.

READ MORE | CONTINUING COVERAGE: Ooltewah crash


PREVIOUS STORY: Benjamin Brewer's attorneys will have to rely on drone pictures and video of Interstate 75 after a judge denied their request to bring the jury to the crash site.

"Photographs were taken then, possible videos were taken then. I think this is more of an effective way and I just think there are so many risks," Judge Don Poole said in court Thursday.

The focus now shifts to Nashville where attorneys will narrow a 200 person jury pool down to 16.

Dan Ripper has worked as a defense attorney in Chattanooga for 25 years.

He's not involved in the Brewer case but knows how the voir dire process works. 

After being generally qualified, attorneys will ask specific questions excusing jurors for different reasons.

"You can't excuse people because of their race or their religion, that sort of thing. But you can excuse them because of their views while on a particular case because of their past experiences if it makes them unable to be fair," Ripper said.

The court is already taking measures to make sure Brewer receives a fair trial by selecting the jury from another county and bringing them to Hamilton County for the duration of the trial.

"You just want 12 people that will be fair, that will follow the law, that will listen to the evidence and will make their decision based on that as opposed to some predisposition that have about how that case should go, about what they should be permitted to hear and those sorts of things," Ripper added.

During the trial, jurors will not be allowed access to television, internet or phone.

Jury selection is set to start Monday morning at 9:00 Central time.

Jurors will then be bused to Hamilton County the following week. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Attorneys for truck driver Benjamin Brewer asked Judge Don Poole to take jurors to the scene on Interstate 75 where the deadly 2015 crash occurred.

Poole ultimately denied the request, telling the courtroom that there were too many risks involved.

The jury selection, scheduled to begin June 12, will be gathered from Davidson County residents.

Brewer faces six counts of vehicular homicide for the crash which claimed the lives of six people.


PREVIOUS STORY: Judge Don W. Poole says the state cannot use evidence found from inside the truck that Benjamin Brewer was driving in the 2015 fatal crash on i-75 in Ooltewah. The crash killed six people.

Judge Poole did say that blood samples are allowed into evidence. 

The trial will have a jury from Davidson County, jury selection begins June 12th.

Brewer's trial is slated to begin on July 19th.

READ MORE | Continuing Coverage: Ooltewah crash


PREVIOUS STORY: For the first time since the deadly crash on I-75 that killed six people, we are hearing from witnesses. Thursday, they took the stand to testify against Benjamin Brewer. Brewer was driving the semi that crashed into stopped traffic in 2015.

We got a look at video from inside the patrol car the night of the crash. Brewer was questioned and given field sobriety tests. Judge Don Poole ruled on what portions of that evidence will be used, but it will be next month before we learn if a local jury will decide Brewer's fate.

Testimony focused on blood tests and patrol car video, as we heard from the Chattanooga Police Department employee who took Benjamin Brewer's blood the day of the crash.

She explained why blood samples are necessary.

“If there's an incident where they drive in an accident doesn't appear to be intoxicated, they will draw the blood and then later come back with a result and if they are DUI with will subpoena through or however they go about that process,” said Phlebotomist Lisa Martin

It was that test that would later show Brewer had meth in his system. Brewer was taken from the crash scene to the Collegedale Police Department, two miles away, for field sobriety testing.

Collegedale Police Chief Brain Hickman testified about the way Brewer was acting and comments he made during the evaluation.

“Just by his demeanor when you asked him stuff, he could care less," Hickman said. "I shouldn't say care less, the way he was acting toward us. It's kind of hard to put into words.”

The defense argued Brewer and his then girlfriend and passenger, Charity Pennington, were treated unfairly by being loaded into police cars, forced to take sobriety tests and have their bags searched.

Video, submitted into evidence, caught the moment an officer read Brewer his rights.

“If you can't afford an attorney," the officer said.

"I thought I wasn't under arrest," Brewer interrupted.

"You're not under arrest, okay? But since you're being detained, you're not allowed to leave right now. I want to read you your rights, so you know what your rights are,” the officer explained.

The duo was not arrested until several days later when they were found in Kentucky. 

Judge Don Poole has to decide what can be presented during the trial.

The court will meet again on May 23rd to discuss a possible change in venue to have the trial moved to another county or a jury selected from another area.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


UPDATE: Truck driver Benjamin Brewer appeared in court Thursday morning before Judge Don Poole for a suppression hearing. Brewer was driving the semi that crashed into stopped traffic in 2015, claiming the lives of six people.

Brewer has been charged with six counts of vehicular homicide in the crash; he tested positive for meth use afterward.

During Thursday's hearing, much of the testimony focused on how the field sobriety tests were handled by police and how Brewer was processed at the scene.

Brewer was ultimately released and then charged later; police found him and his then girlfriend in Kentucky.

Channel 3 reporter Michelle Heron is tweeting live from the hearing. You can follow her on Twitter.


PREVIOUS STORY: Driver Benjamin Brewer's trial has been moved to June 19th in Hamilton County. 

Brewer faces six counts of vehicular homicide and DUI from the 2015 crash where his truck slammed into stopped traffic on Interstate 75 near the Ooltewah exit.

READ MORE | Ooltewah Crash


PREVIOUS STORY: Driver Benjamin Brewer appeared in court Monday morning for a preliminary hearing.

Brewer faces six counts of vehicular homicide and DUI from the 2015 crash where is truck slammed into stopped traffic on Interstate 75 near the Ooltewah exit.

Police later determined that Brewer had used meth and rested very little prior to the crash that claimed six lives.

A pre-trial motion is scheduled for March 2, with the trial is still scheduled to begin April 4, 2017.


PREVIOUS STORY: Truck driver Benjamin Brewer’s trial is slated to begin April 4, 2017.

In June 2015, investigators said Brewer, driving a semi with little rest and after taking methamphetamine, slammed into slowed traffic on Interstate 75 in Ooltewah.

Six people were killed in the resulting crash.

Brewer is charged with six counts of vehicular homicide and DUI.

Melydia Clewell, a spokesperson of District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, said there is also a pre-trial conference date for Brewer on Feb. 6, 2017.

The National Transportation Safety Board report said that Brewer's blood tested positive for meth use, which investigators determined "degraded his driving performance.


PREVIOUS STORY: The trail from Benjamin Brewer has been delayed due to witness availability. 

They will meet on November 8th to work out the availability issues. 

Benjamin Brewer faces 13 charges, including six counts of vehicular homicide from a 2015 I-75 crash in Ooltewah. He was also charged with DUI with narcotics in the crash.


PREVIOUS STORY:  The pre-trial hearing for Benjamin Brewer, the truck driver in the 2015 fatal I-75 crash, has been moved to September 26. 

Brewer's trial is still expected to start in November. 


PREVIOUS STORY: We now know which Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge will preside over the case against Benjamin Brewer.

Brewer is set to go before Judge Don Poole on September 11 to answer to the long list of charges he faces in connection to the June crash that killed six people.

Channel 3 was outside the Hamilton County Jail when Brewer arrived Tuesday, escorted by deputies from Kentucky. Shortly after he was booked, the spokesperson for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office released a statement.

"At this time, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is officially announcing that Benjamin Brewer is in custody in the Hamilton County Jail.  He was transported earlier today by members of the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office Fugitive Division from Kentucky," said Matt Lea. 

Brewer's bond has not yet been set. The clerk's office tells Channel 3 that will likely be decided at the September 11 hearing. Count on Channel 3 to be there and keep you updated.


PREVIOUS STORY: Benjamin Brewer, the truck driver involved in an accident on I-75 that killed six people is en route to Hamilton County.  

Brewer was located and arrested in Kentucky where he faced additional charges.  

Those charges were dropped in Kentucky.  

Brewer faces multiple charges in Hamilton County including 6 counts of vehicular homicide.


PREVIOUS STORY: Charges in Kentucky against Benjamin Brewer have been dropped according to the Kentucky prosecutor handing the case. 

Hamilton County District Attorney General Pinkston was notified of the decision Monday, August 31. 

Brewer will be extradited from the Fayette County, KY, Detention Center within the next 30 days. 

READ MORE | Driver in deadly crash charged with meth trafficking

Arrangements for Brewer's return to Hamilton County will be handled by HCSO's Fugitive Division.

Stay with Channel 3 Eyewitness News as more information develops. 

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