Survivor Testifies In Negligent Manslaughter Trial After Four Ohio Men Were Killed In Car Accident

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - A Bay County man faces a judge and jury in his first day of trial on four counts of negligent manslaughter involving a motor vehicle, or DUI manslaughter.

Cody Austin Shirah is accused of killing four Ohio softball players on John Pitts Road and Pine Tree Road back in September 2016.

Prosecutor Larry Basford opens the trial by going back to the night of September 16th. "The defendant Cody Austin Shirah, chose to drink and get behind the wheel of an F-150," said Basford.

Defense Attorney Caren Bennett informed the jury to look closely at Shirah's blood alcohol level. "I will educate you about the validity of the results. How reliable are they? What factors play in," said Bennett. 

Authorities say it was .078, nearly four hours after the wreck. The limit is .08

Pictures taken from the scene shows a mangled truck, and the crushed van carrying softball players Anthony and William Gouge, Eric Young, and Josh Martin.

Craig Jackson, the driver and only survivor, took the stand and gave his chilling testimony after the group returned to their condo from a game at Harder's Park.

"I just heard the acceleration from the passenger side, and heard a 'vroooom'. At this time the truck comes from behind these trees, and at that point he had hit us," said Jackson.

Gina Jones with Bay County EMS says she arrived on scene about twenty minutes after the wreck was reported around 11:30.

Jones says she smelled alcohol on Shirah's breath while administering aid to him, and the passenger, Kristun Tullier.

She asked if he drank multiple alcoholic beverages. "He said yes, he had had multiple beverages," said Bay County EMS, Gina Jones.

Jones and more witnesses are expected to share their account of what they saw on scene.The state has a list of fifteen witness, with most of them taking the stand Tuesday. The trial will resume at 8:30 Wednesday morning.

Shirah is also charged with driving without a license involving death/injury.

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