Eric Eugene Ellis was in a severe four vehicle accident and he’d been drinking but he was ultimately cleared by a jury of his peers for one simple reason: despite the DUI charge filed against him, Ellis was not driving the night the accident took place. He had been thrown from the vehicle at the time of the accident, only to wake up the next day in the hospital.
As to who was in fact driving that night, that’s where the story gets more complicated. According to Ellis it was his friend, John Barrick who had beeb driving at the time. By Ellis’s account the two had been out drinking together and the accident took place with Barrick at the wheel as they were en route to their next stop of the night.
For his part, John Barrick testified that, while the two had been carousing they’d gotten in a fight with Ellis taking Barrick’s keys and leaving him behind. Somewhat the worse for wear, Barrick made his way to a local gas station and ended up spending the night in the storage shed of a local hotel. He was picked up by police the next day.
Dennis Fahnestock, a witness to the crash, testified that he did see an individual thrown from one of the cars. After calling police he proceeded to check on the injured man, who turned out to be Eric Ellis, but Fahnestock did not encounter John Barrick anyone one else near the vehicle.
Both Ellis and Barrick had previous DUI convictions and Barrick’s license is currently suspended so both had plenty to lose from another brush with the law. After a half hour, the jury returned a verdict of not guilt, clearing Ellis of the DUI charge.
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Birbeck attributed the verdict to an exceptional defense, Ellis’s attorney, Chief Public Defender Timothy Clawges, “did an incredible job in his defense of Mr. Ellis.” The District Attorney has no plans to file charges against John Barrick, because, Birbeck said, “He wasn’t the one driving.”
If you need advice concerning a DUI charge and you would like a free consultation, call The Gordon Law Firm at 703.218.8416