Trial set for accused drunk driver who hit cyclists, killing one - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Trial set for accused drunk driver who hit cyclists, killing one

Joseph Branch (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office) Joseph Branch (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

An October trial date has been set in the case of an alleged drunk driver who hit two bicyclists on Perkins Road two years ago, killing one of them.

Joseph Branch had nothing to say as he walked out of 19th Judicial District Court on Monday after his court date was set.  He is accused of crashing into Nathan Crowson and Danny Morris with his car as they rode their bikes down Perkins Road on January 21, 2012. Crowson was killed. Morris was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Prosecutor, Julie Collins, said Morris is still recovering.

"Danny Morris is physically broken. He's suffering," Collins said.

Police said Branch had a blood alcohol level of .307, nearly four times the legal limit, at the time of the crash. His attorney, DeVan Pardue, believes the machine used to test branch's BAC may have given investigators an inaccurate reading.

"This is a machine that is in a van that they move around and goes to different places. It's by the Pennington Center. There's all kinds of radio activity and radio waves that could have affected the results," Pardue said.

"That intoxilyzer was working exactly like it should have. It has routinely been re calibrated, re certified. The operators have been certified," Collins said.

The defense attorney pointed out in court Monday that results show the two victims allegedly had marijuana in their system at the time of the crash.  Prosecutors confirmed that fact but said that does not weaken their case.

Pardue stated in court the two bicyclists tested positive for marijuana, which he believes begs the question, "Who actually caused the crash?"

"It tells us we need to go back and check the history to see if this is something they did randomly by riding down the road smoking a joint, or did they hand it back and forth? Was there a blunt sitting on the side of the road," Pardue explained.

Collins said just because Crowson and Morris may have tested positive for marijuana does not mean they were high when they were hit. She believes the defense is using the information as a tactic to delay Branch's trial.

"We are not trying to hide anything but I think the defense efforts at this point are getting a little bit beyond the scope of what's relevant," Collins said.

Branch is charged with second offense DWI and vehicular homicide.

A hearing is scheduled for June 30, 2014.

Branch's trial has been set for October 14, 2014.

Crowson was pronounced dead at the scene. Morris was in the hospital for nearly a month due to the injuries he suffered in the crash.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.

  • Trial set for accused drunk driver who hit cyclists, killing oneMore>>

  • SIDEBAR: Crowson and Morris Stories

    Related Stories

    Cyclist's road to recovery after being hit by accused drunk driverMemorial bike ride for Nathan Crowson ATC: Bar not responsible for fatal crash Cyclist out of coma after being hit by car Memorial heldMore >>
    Memorial bike ride for Nathan CrowsonATC: Bar not responsible for fatal crashCyclist out of coma after being hit by carMemorial held for cyclist killed in crashPolice: Driver's BAC was nearly 4 times legalMore >>
  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Lufkin's Community Food Drive built on woman's legacy

    Lufkin's Community Food Drive built on woman's legacy

    Saturday, November 18 2017 9:28 PM EST2017-11-19 02:28:07 GMT
    Source: KTRE StaffSource: KTRE Staff
    The Community Food Drive in Lufkin is special to some because of the large amount of people it brings together from all walks of life.  "It's just like so many different people, very diverse," said volunteer, Priscilla Gonzalez. "It's just kind of cool to see all these people coming together to do one thing." For others, like Keith Kennedy, it's all about the service being provided to the greater community. "They're in miracle territory,...More >>
    The Community Food Drive in Lufkin is special to some because of the large amount of people it brings together from all walks of life.  "It's just like so many different people, very diverse," said volunteer, Priscilla Gonzalez. "It's just kind of cool to see all these people coming together to do one thing." For others, like Keith Kennedy, it's all about the service being provided to the greater community. "They're in miracle territory,...More >>
  • East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

    East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

    Friday, November 17 2017 7:26 PM EST2017-11-18 00:26:00 GMT

    According to the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment rate has fallen to a 3.9 percent since  In East Texas some holiday job openings have helped that percentage grow.  During March Target finished a 3.5 million dollar remodel that brought in new product lines. “We've actually added new positions and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then,” said store team leader, Kris Hoephner. This addition to the Ta...

    More >>

    According to the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment rate has fallen to a 3.9 percent since  In East Texas some holiday job openings have helped that percentage grow.  During March Target finished a 3.5 million dollar remodel that brought in new product lines. “We've actually added new positions and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then,” said store team leader, Kris Hoephner. This addition to the Ta...

    More >>
  • Lufkin STEM program plant trees at local schools

    Lufkin STEM program plant trees at local schools

    Friday, November 17 2017 7:25 PM EST2017-11-18 00:25:00 GMT
    Source: KTRESource: KTRE

    The 7th grade, STEM program from Lufkin joined up with some of the senior STEM students and spent their Friday, morning, planting trees at Burley Primary and Slack Elementary Schools. 

    More >>

    The 7th grade, STEM program from Lufkin joined up with some of the senior STEM students and spent their Friday, morning, planting trees at Burley Primary and Slack Elementary Schools. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly