Attorney of ex-state trooper accused of killing teens in crash says wrong person on trial

Photo: WSB-TV
Photo: WSB-TV

Will a mistrial be declared for ex-trooper accused in fatal 2-car crash?

Teen passengers in the car the trooper collided with were killed in 2015

A Carroll County judge will decide Monday whether a video shown to jurors should lead to a mistrial for a former state trooper accused of crashing into a car and killing two teen passengers. 

The video, shown by prosecutors during closing arguments on Friday afternoon, showed dash-cam footage from Anthony Scott’s patrol car the night of the September 2015 crash. Jurors watched the same video during the trial. Scott allegedly was driving 91 mph in a 55-mph zone just moments before crashing into a Nissan with four teenagers inside. 

But when jurors saw the video, images of a speed-limit sign and crossing sign had been imposed in one corner. Defense attorneys argued that jurors should have been told that. Prosecutor argued that the photos were added as a reference for jurors and that the video was not altered.

Judge John Simpson said the court should have been informed ahead of time. He recessed for about an hour Friday afternoon to consider the defense’s motion for a mistrial, and said he could find no similar cases in the country to help guide his decision. 

RELATED: Trial begins for former trooper accused in crash that killed 2 teens

ALSO: Trooper fired for excessive speed before fatal crash

MORE: Dozens protest over decision to not charge ex-trooper

“I do feel that the court should have been notified and the defense should have been notified of the changed video,” Simpson said. “That is certain.”

Simpson said he would continue to research over the weekend and told both sides to return to court Monday with any laws or cases to support their position. 

In 2015, Scott, was driving northbound on U.S. 27 when he struck a 2005 Nissan Sentra attempting a left turn onto Holly Springs Road, investigators said. The posted speed limit in the area is 55 mph, but the Georgia State Patrol determined Scott was driving 91 mph moments earlier. Scott was fired days later. 

Kylie Lindsey, 17, and Isabella Chinchilla, 16, seated in the backseat of the Nissan, died from their injuries. Both were students at South Paulding High School. Two others — Dillon Lewis Wall, then 18, and Benjamin Alan Finken, then 17, both of Douglasville — were injured and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Both Wall and Finken survived. 

Scott, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps before becoming a trooper in 2012, had not activated emergency lights at the time of the crash, investigators say. He was treated and released from Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton. In August 2017, Scott was indicted on two counts of second degree vehicular homicide, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, violating oath of office and one count each of speeding and reckless driving. 

During his testimony on Friday, Scott said he tried to avoid the crash, but said the teens’ car pulled out in front of him. 

“I thought they were probably going to stop in the left lane, so I went to the right lane, but they never did stop,” Scott said. “They kept coming."

Scott helped get Wall, the driver, out of the car as other officers arrived. Scott’s attorneys have argued Wall failed to yield and that the teens’ alcohol use were factors in the crash. 

Prosecutors contend Scott’s speed caused the crash and that he failed to obey the law. 

Kylie Lindsey, 17, and Isabella Chinchilla, 16, died that night in 2015. Ben Finken, 17, and the driver, Dillon Wall, 18, had critical injuries.

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