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Testimony to continue in deputy hit case

May 6th, 2013 9:35 pm by Becky Campbell

Testimony to continue in deputy hit case

After several hours of jury selection Monday, testimony started in the trial of three people accused of running down a Washington County deputy during a pursuit from an alleged robbery.
Dalvin Jashauntelynn Stephens, 20, 1726 Dave Buck Road, Reginald Dewayne Smith, 41, 1419 Colony Park Drive, and Ashley Nicole McGraw, 20, 127 Forest Hills Drive, are charged with attempted first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery.
Stephens faces additional charges of evading arrest, reckless endangerment and violation of the driver’s license law. Smith faces additional charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence.
Stephens was driving the car that hit Washington County Deputy Gary Daugherty on Jan. 1, 2012, when the officer attempted to throw out spike strips to stop the fleeing vehicle.
Officers were trying to stop the car because the three were suspected of a home invasion attempted robbery just prior to the pursuit.
The jury heard testimony from two men, Eric McElyea and Daniel Hylmon, the two men who said Smith came into their home on Sand Valley Road with a gun and demanded money and drugs.
Smith eventually left with neither. McElyea and Hylmon got a description of the vehicle Smith got into and called 911.
Deputy Lee Cross got behind the car, a red Cavalier, and attempted to stop it on Highway 81S. Cross testified Monday that he was in radio contact with Daugherty, who had set up to throw out spike strips in an attempt to flatten the vehicle’s tires.
But as the vehicle approached Daugherty’s position as the officer was throwing out the strip, the vehicle veered to the left and hit Daugherty.
Smith’s defense attorney, Jerry Fabus, contends his client was actually trying to miss the strip and Daugherty when the officers stumbled back and into the path of the car.
State prosecutors showed the video from Cross’ cruiser camera to the jury, which showed the car swerve and Daugherty get hit and fly through the air before hitting the pavement.
In opening statements, McGraw’s attorney, Debbie Lonon, urged the jury to pay close attention to her client’s involvement — nor non-involvement — in everything that happened. She said that McGraw was simply there and took no part in the robbery or attempt to flee from officers.
Gene Scott, who represents Smith, took a hard line with McElyea and Hylmon about their denial that drugs were used or sold from the mobile home where they lived. He also caught McElyea in a lie when McElyea denied having possessed any other drugs, but then acknowledged he had been convicted in 2011 of in a drug possession case.
Testimony will resume today at 9 a.m.
The three remain jailed in lieu of bonds. Stephens has a $201,000 bond, Smith has a $75,000 bond and McGraw is free on bond while the case is pending.

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