Trial Begins in High-Profile Drunk Driving Case - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Trial Begins in High-Profile Drunk Driving Case

Lubbock Sheriff's Office Lubbock Sheriff's Office

A 12-member jury is now seated in Callie Long's intoxicated manslaughter trial. The jurors must determine if long is innocent or guilty in the death of 29-year-old bicyclist Brett Walrath.

Tough Jury Selection in Long Case Due to Pre-Trail Exposure
The case of Callie Long has been in the news for more than a year, and many people have heard of either Long or Brett Walrath, whom Long allegedly killed in a drunk driving accident in August 2003. The jury selection process took more than seven hours Monday, and nailing down an unbiased jury was challenging for attorney's.

Walrath's family sat in the court room with the Defendant, Callie Long, as lawyers questioned 100 people to find 12 un-bias jurors. Brett Walrath worked in the DA's office which also made it difficult to find an un-bias lawyer, that's why criminal attorney Rod Hobson is trying the case.

There are three key players in these lawsuits; Callie Long who is accused of hitting Walrath while intoxicated, Chris Wynn who hit Walrath a second time and the Outback Steakhouse. This isn't the first time the Walrath family has been in court. Widow LaKeisha Walrath has already been awarded $150,000 in a civil case that wrapped up about one year ago.

Court papers talk about Callie Long's involvement, saying, "... after striking and severely injuring Brett Walrath, Defendant Long fled the scene. Defendant's actions caused further damage to Plaintiff by leaving him exposed to further injury." That further injury came from Chris Wynn, a cotton farmer and radio talk show host. Depositions indicate Wynn and Long were at a fundraiser before going to the Outback. He was following Long's car from the Outback the night of the crash. The Plaintiff's statement read, "Chris Wynn, negligently, cause the jeep automobile that he was driving to run over Brett Walrath as he lay helpless in the street after being struck by Callie Long."

From that case, Long paid $100,000 to the Walrath family for damages, both emotionally and financially. Wynn was responsible for $50,000. According to documents the money was split between doctor bills, lawyer and court fees, Brett's two children, and his wife LaKeisha who said in her statement, "...during his lifetime, he was energetic, a good father, husband and provider...gave advice, counsel, comfort, care and protection to his wife and family."

Opening arguments being Tuesday morning, and the trial is expected to last throughout the week. The civil trial against Outback Steakhouse is set to begin in June. The Walrath family is accusing the restaurant of serving Long after she was intoxicated.

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