published Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Trial set for Chattanooga man accused of killing 4-month-old girl while driving drunk

  • photo
    Bryant Houston is accused of killing a four month old girl in a traffic crash in 2010.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A man accused of killing a 4-month-old girl while driving drunk will go to trial this month after he turned down a plea deal Monday morning.

Bryant Houston, 38, will go to trial on July 24, his birthday.

Houston, who was clad in orange jail garb, shook his head "No" when Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman asked him if he wanted to accept a plea deal. The offer itself was not disclosed in court.

Houston is charged with vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault and driving under the influence, records show.

On May 27, 2010, Katherine Spalding and John Moore were turning into a Valvoline Instant Service store on Hixson Pike in a 1995 Mustang when they were struck by Houston, who was driving a 1997 Lincoln Continental, according to the affidavit of complaint.

The family, including the couple's daughter, Addison Moore, was admitted to the hospital. The parents initially were listed in critical condition and later were released, but Addison died two days later.

Houston told Chattanooga police he consumed three 22-ounce Bud Lights before the accident. His blood alcohol level tested at 0.19 -- more than twice the legal limit, which in Tennessee is 0.08.

If convicted of vehicular homicide, a class B felony, he could face up to 12 years in prison. Vehicular assault is a class D felony with a maximum of four years. The DUI charge carries a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days in jail.

Kate Lavery, assistant district attorney, said she plans to ask for the sentences to run consecutively based on Houston's misdemeanor record and the extent of injuries to the victims and the death of a child.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.

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