BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Eric Miles Jr. has eight DUI convictions on his record and was speeding on a suspended license when his Chevy Equinox collided with a Jeep, killing its driver, according to court records and police reports. It’s alleged he fled the scene on foot.
But during a preliminary hearing Tuesday, defense lawyer Tony Lidgett, noting the Jeep’s driver was found partly unclothed on the ground just outside the vehicle, and that a woman was seated in the front passenger seat, attempted to elicit testimony Miles didn’t cause the crash.
When Lidgett asked one of the investigating officers whether any seats in the Jeep were reclined, Judge Michael G. Bush questioned the relevance.
Lidgett responded the driver, Christopher Lee Reyes, 24, “was butt naked from the waist down.”
He later asked a question leaving no doubt what he was implying.
“Would you agree that receiving oral sex while driving would be distracting?” Lidgett asked Bakersfield police Officer Richard Robles.
Bush sustained an objection immediately voiced by prosecutor Tara Deal. She said there is no evidence Reyes was engaged in a sex act.
Under further questioning, Robles said it’s possible the force of the impact — violent enough to throw Reyes from the vehicle — ripped his shorts off. He said he’s investigated other crashes where victims have lost their clothing.
Pressed by Lidgett to name one, he couldn’t.
Bush, who listened to roughly four hours of testimony, including from an officer who said the Equinox had been traveling 76 mph just before impact, ordered Miles to stand trial on charges of reckless driving, hit-and-run causing death or permanent serious injury and driving on a license suspended or revoked for DUI.
The judge did not, however, find sufficient evidence supporting a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter. Bush said he didn’t know if Lidgett’s theory was accurate, but it did appear Reyes was distracted and turned in front of the Equinox.
Prosecutors can refile the gross vehicular manslaughter charge.
Miles, 32, is held without bail and due back in court Nov. 17. He previously was out on bail but was arrested in September on suspicion of DUI. He was held to answer Tuesday on two felonies and a misdemeanor filed in that case.
Article By KGET, https://www.kget.com/news/crime-watch/attorney-argues-victim-caused-deadly-collision-while-distracted-by-sex-act/