A Tuscaloosa man accused of causing a fatal crash that killed a teenager in 2016 is on trial for murder. Kevin Henderson was driving the BMW involved in a head-on collision that killed Chase Price.
A Tuscaloosa man accused of causing a fatal crash that killed a teenager in 2016 is on trial for murder.
Kevin Henderson, 56, was driving the BMW involved in a head-on collision that killed Chase Price, 17, on Nov. 23, 2016.
Alabama State Troopers and prosecutors believe Henderson caused the crash, saying he was as traveling 101 miles per hour in the wrong lane, and had a 0.10 blood alcohol level at the time of the crash.
Defense attorney Joel Sogol suggested the crash was an accident, and that the jury will need to carefully consider the circumstances.
"The question here is what was the cause of his death. Not whether Kevin Henderson was drunk or whether he was speeding," Sogol said during opening statements to the jury. "If it was caused by the actions of Mr. Price, he is not guilty."
Sogol reminded jury members that they're required to consider the defendant not guilty, and urged them to keep an open mind until they hear all the evidence and have been instructed on the law.
Tuscaloosa County Assistant District Attorney Grace Prince said Henderson had been at 82 Package Store on U.S. Highway 82 East near the intersection with Daffron Road just after 4 p.m. that Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
The speed limit is 45 miles per hour in the area, she said.
"He's already drunk at 4 p.m. and he's in his 2016 BMW," she said. "He sees a Mustang, he starts revving his engine."
The driver of the other car pulled on to Daffron Road, she said, before Henderson "barrels through that intersection, and passes the Mustang in a no-pass zone."
Henderson rounded a curve and saw the 1998 Honda Civic approaching from the other direction. She said Henderson "took his foot off the gas, jerked the wheel and slammed straight into Chase Price, on his way home from work."
Sogol said Henderson was driving around 80 miles per hour and lost control of his vehicle when the crash occurred.
"One thing [the prosecution] keeps missing is that the accident happened in Kevin Henderson's lane. It happened squarely in his lane," he said. "He had no choice, no opportunity — there was nothing he could do. It's as if somebody dropped a rock in front of your car while you were driving, and you had nowhere to go."
But Prince said the crash could have been avoided.
"He did not care about any other life than his own," she said. "That's what this case is about."
A grand jury indicted Henderson on murder, a misdemeanor DUI charge and the improper lane usage, reckless driving and speeding traffic violations more than two years after the crash. Sogol successfully argued for the DUI and traffic violations to be dropped in 2018 because the one-year statutes of limitations period had passed. Troopers said Henderson was also under the influence of Xanax at the time of the crash.
Henderson was admitted to an addiction treatment center in Atlanta a few days after he was accused of wrecking into a parked car with two bags of cocaine in his pocket in July. He was free on bond in the murder case at the time, and allegedly told a police officer that he was “recently indicted for murder, this cocaine ain’t nothing.” Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Al May ruled Henderson must remain in jail until the case is decided.
The judge told jurors he expects the trial to last until Thursday.