Defendant Testifies in Felony DUI Trial

Defendant Pamela Tackett took the witness stand after lunch break yesterday in her Felony DUI trial from a fatal crash on I-385 in Laurens County last March. She told the jury she has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, having been molested at age 9. She said she also has hallucinations, crowd phobias, and other issues. During questioning about her medications, she said she smokes “a bowl” of marijuana every night to relieve her severe migraine headaches.

Tackett indicated she felt great the morning of the wreck, saying “I was just singing and talking with the child, that is all I remembered.” She said she didn’t remember people talking to her and had a migraine after the crash. She said she has very weak ankles and that’s why she had terrible balance in the field sobriety walking tests. During cross-examination, the prosecutor asked about her not remembering the actual crash, but she remembers details from having taken an EMT class years ago.

Yesterday morning another PC Pharmacy Professor testified about the drugs found in Pamela Thackett last March. Dr. Nancy Goodbar said the medications involved have side effects but taking them for long periods of time may not impair driving. Asked why she had a different conclusion than another PC professor, she noted different specialties, but said the real unknown was the impact of the marijuana.

When it appeared both sides were going to rest their cases yesterday afternoon, the prosecution asked to call one last witness, a Highway Patrol Drug-Recognition officer who conducted a sobriety test in the hospital. Judge Hocker had ruled him out as a witness earlier this week, following extensive arguments on the matter by the state and defense.

When Officer Terry took the stand, he identified himself as a drug recognition officer. Judge Don Hocker stopped him, had the jury leave, then reminded the witness he had been told not to tell the jury that he’s a drug recognition officer.

Assistant Solicitor Mowry apologized to the judge and said it wasn’t the officer’s fault. A member of the prosecution team took the blame for the failure to advise the officer not to so identify himself.

The jury was returned to the courtroom, advised to disregard the officer’s comment. The witness then told the jury he thought the defendant was under the influence.

Closing arguments are expected to be made this morning.