Judge Tosses Out Evidence During Second Day of Naylor Trial
A judge in Albemarle Circuit Court dismisses evidence in the trial for Dana William Naylor, Junior, the man accused of causing a fatal crash last January.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A judge in Albemarle Circuit Court is dismissing evidence in the trial for Dana William Naylor, Junior, the man accused of causing a fatal crash last January.
The 31-year-old defendant is charged with involuntary manslaughter and DUI maiming. Authorities believe the Esmont man drove a Time Disposal trash truck around safety arms at a train crossing on Lanetown Road on January 31, 2018. The truck was struck by an Amtrak train, seriously injuring Dennis James Patrick Eddy and killing 28-year-old Christopher Sachem Foley. Both victims were sitting in the truck with Naylor.
However, the DUI-related charge may be thrown out after Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled Tuesday, February 26, that jurors would not hear testimony from a toxicology expert, nor see the results of a blood test. It was also revealed in court that marijuana was found inside the truck, however, the judge dismissed that information, as well.
“The defense can make a motion to strike [ DUI maiming],” said NBC legal analyst Bonnie Lepold. “They [the commonwealth] have to present some evidence of intoxication and or impairment by THC, and it's my understanding without that evidence and being able to interpret it than the judge will have to consider that motion."
Judge Higgins had the jury leave the courtroom before she heard testimony from the toxicology expert. The witness said many factors are involved when determining impairment from marijuana. The witness said Naylor’s blood test indicated he had levels of THC on the day of the deadly crash.
Higgins’ decision to keep this information from jurors was partially based on the expert acknowledging that science cannot determine the level of impairment just with a blood sample. Meanwhile, the discovery of marijuana was excluded since it doesn't prove anyone in the truck was under the influence at the time.
Jurors did hear from a nurse, who explained the protocol he used to draw blood from Naylor, who was receiving treatment at the University of Virginia Medical Center after the crash. Investigators had obtained a warrant to collect a blood sample from the defendant while he was in the hospital. They thought they smelled alcohol on Naylor.
Other witnesses called to the stand Tuesday included an inspector, a Virginia State Police trooper, an Albemarle County Police officer, and the owner of Time Disposal.
The inspector told the court that he regularly checked the Lanetown Rd. crossing, and that it was operating as normal at the time of the crash. The witness also added that those safety arms are extremely easy to drive through. The inspector explained that the train crossing signals begin about 30 seconds before the train gets to the intersection, which comes out to about a half a mile.
Authorities and previous witnesses have stated that the safety arms were down and flashing when Naylor drove onto the tracks.
The owner of Time Disposal told jurors that Naylor was a great employee. He also stated that all of the trash trucks are inspected before and after they're driven for the day, and that each is equipped with a GPS device. The owner testified that Naylor's truck didn't have any issues.
The court also heard from Eddy’s father, Dennis Eddy. He said his son is in an inpatient brain rehab center in North Carolina. Eddy has short-term memory loss, and suffers from anxiety and depression. According to a doctor, who also took the stand Tuesday, Eddy has permanent cognitive issues.
Naylor's trial began on Monday, and is scheduled to last a total of three days.