WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Bay County man facing a vehicular homicide trial is trying to get much of the evidence in the case thrown out.
The crash happened on February 12th, 2021, just before 2 a.m. on Highway 98 near Watersound Parkway. Florida Highway Patrol troopers said a 59-year-old Ohio man was killed after he was rear-ended by a Porsche.
Troopers said the victim was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. The alleged driver of the Porsche, Brenton Cowart, was subsequently arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
Although Cowart declined to give permission for a blood draw, prosecutors with the state attorney’s office determined that it could be done under the law without a search warrant.
Cowart’s attorney, Richard Merlino, is asking Judge Kelvin Wells, to suppress statements Cowart made after the crash. Cowart allegedly told investigators he was a passenger in the car and was unsure who was driving, according to Merlino’s motion.
Merlino is also asking Wells to throw out the evidence obtained via blood draws. Merlino noted that Cowart attempted to refuse medical treatment and refused to have his blood taken.
In his motion, Merlino argues that troopers did not have a search warrant and did not meet the legal burden required to take Cowart’s blood without a warrant. He added that Cowart’s ultimate “consent” to give blood was “coerced and involuntary.”
A hearing on the motions is set for Tuesday. A trial in the case is set for April 10.
You can read the motion below: