Former Wichita Falls police officer Teddie Whitefield is on trial for Manslaughter. His Bench Trial began Monday morning in the 30th District Court. Whitefield waived his right to a jury trial last March. He is charged in the deaths of 18-year old Yeni Lopez, her unborn child and 14-year old Gloria Montoya. Whitefield was on duty in his patrol car when he slammed into the car Lopez was driving in June of 2011.
In closing arguments on Thursday defense attorney Jeff McKnight told Judge Bob Brotherton that experience needs to be considered in this case. McKnight said his expert witnesses were more qualified to make judgements on how fast Teddie Whitefield's patrol car was going down Jacksboro Highway the night of June 30, 2011. McKnight also said DPS investigators should have performed more tests in their investigation. Tim Lovett an expert crash investigator did multiple tests in his investigation and estimated that Whitefield's car was going just under 50 miles an hour instead of 75. McKnight also said the video evidence was unreliable. There was no video of investigators measuring the time distance ratio they say they did. He also pointed out that his experts testified that because the frame rate the video was recorded at meant there was as much as a 40% margin of error in what the DPS concluded.
The prosecution says that Whitefield acted recklessly and knew better than to speed down Jacksboro Highway at 9:30 in the evening. They also said that defense investigator Lovett made assumption after assumption in his investigation. The tests Lovett said should have been done were not done by DPS because this was a 'T-Bone" crash not a "Head On" collision. Prosecutors also slammed another defense expert who testified that accurate measurements could not be made from the video that DPS used to determine the patrol car's speed saying his testimony did not survive scrutiny. The prosecution wrapped their arguments up by saying three lives were lost in this horrific accident. Nothing can be done about that. The only thing that can be done is justice.
A decision is expected in this case from Judge Bob Brotherton on Tuesday at 9 a.m.. Newschannel 6 will be there to bring you that decision and reaction from it.