Former truck driver Benjamin Brewer seeks new trial
Benjamin Brewer is requesting a new trial.
The Kentucky truck driver was sentenced to 55 years in prison for the I-75 crash that killed six people in 2015. Brewer's attorneys say the state concealed crucial evidence before his trial. They say the blood samples that were taken after the deadly crash were contaminated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and state prosecutors overlooked that.
It's been five months since Brewer was found guilty in Judge Don Poole's courtroom.
“This is one incident. One terrible incident that resulted in horrible, horrible things to a large number of people and I considered that,” Judge Poole said during the Brewer’s sentencing.
During the trial, prosecutors relied on a TBI report to prove he was high on meth when he slammed into standstill traffic on I-75.
But defense attorneys argued the science behind the testing is unreliable.
During the trial, Defense Attorney Jay Underwood asked, “if someone has a small amount of a substance in their blood, does that necessarily mean they're impaired?” Collegedale Police Chief Brian Hickman answered, 'no.'
Now, they're pushing for a new trial or acquittal. They say a chemical called Naphthalene was added to Brewer's blood samples that were taken after the crash.
A TBI spokesperson told the Times Free Press that a multi-step "chemical extraction" process is used to-isolate-drugs in a blood sample. The spokesperson said that the chemical had no effect on the test result.
Brewer's attorneys filed subpoenas for any communication the state had with the TBI about the chemical. They're also pushing to find out how many other blood samples the chemical was used in.
Judge Poole will hear both sides of the argument on September 10.