The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

February 14, 2014

State, defense attorney rest case in intoxicated manslaughter trial


After over a day and a half of testimony, both the state and defense rested their case Thursday afternoon in the intoxicated manslaughter trial of a 19-year-old man accused in the death of a 17-year-old Elkhart girl in 2012.

A six-man, six-woman jury began hearing evidence on Tuesday afternoon in the trial of Hayden Blaine Gray, who is accused of driving intoxicated and causing the death of Cheyenne Franklin in a one-vehicle wreck which occurred on Nov. 17, 2012.

Franklin was a back seat passenger in a pickup truck that Gray, then a senior at Elkhart High School, was driving on Anderson County Road 2102, just north of Texas 294. Three other teens were in the vehicle — a 2003 Dodge pickup — at the time of the crash, with front seat passenger Jeffrey Wilson injured and transported to a Tyler hospital.

Spending most of the time on the stand was Department of Safety Trooper Lynn Hubert, who investigated the case, administrated required field sobriety tests and interviews at the scene and obtained a blood sample from Gray.

Once he determined that Gray was driving the vehicle, Hubert testified that he conducted three field sobriety tests on the defendant, including an HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test, a “walk and turn” test and a “one-leg stand” test.

Each of those tests comes with certain “clues” that alert the officer to whether or not the subject is highly intoxicated.

The HGN test includes having the subject focus on a stimulus, such as a pen or the officer's finger, and follow it with their eyes. The eye is brought to the side, just enough to hide the whites of the eyes, and then observed for involuntary twitching that is only visible to the naked eyes when a subject is under the influence.

“There are six clues on the HGN test, and the 'decision point' comes with the observance of four or more of those 'clues,'” Hubert testified. “Grey showed a 'lack of smooth pursuit' (eyes did not move smoothly) on both eyes for that test.”

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