The second day in the trial of Janet Hinds, the driver accused of hitting and killing Chattanooga police officer Nicholas Galinger, included video and evidence from the search of Hinds' home and vehicle the day after the accident.
Witnesses from the Ringgold, Georgia, restaurant where Hines was drinking before the crash testified.
Galinger, 38, was struck by a car Feb. 23, 2019, while inspecting a manhole cover that had water flowing from it in the 2900 block of Hamill Road just after 11 p.m. The driver fled the scene.
Hinds faces 10 charges including vehicular homicide by intoxication, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, failure to render aid, violation of a traffic control device, speeding, failing to exercise due care, failing to stay in a lane and driving under the influence in the Feb. 23, 2019, hit-and-run death. She pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The first two witnesses were involved with the crime scene investigation and examination of evidence from the home and vehicle of Hinds.
Shown at the trial was video taken at the Hinds residence with a search warrant granted the day after the crash. She was not home at the time of the search.
Photos of the windshield of Hinds' car showed it had been shattered with large hole in it. A shirt with a piece of glass on it was collected from a laundry basket at Hinds' home, according to Jerry McElroy, a crime scene investigator with the Chattanooga Police Department.
Kristen Booker, also a crime scene investigator for the Chattanooga Police Department, said she observed black scuff marks on the hood of Hinds' vehicle and several hairs in the windshield.
Inside the car, she observed a "fairly large piece of possible tissue" on the steering column and took a swab of possible blood found on the side of the odometer. After spraying BlueStar, a liquid chemical used to detect blood that's not visible to the naked eye, inside the vehicle, a faint reaction was observed near the odometer and under the broken glass from the windshield.
Several employees from Farm to Fork, the restaurant Hinds left before allegedly striking Galinger, were called to testify.
General manager Christy Hill, the restaurant employee who typically deals with customers who appear too intoxicated, said she had no concerns about Hinds' level of intoxication that night. Hinds' server, Jessica Powell, said there was nothing about Hinds' demeanor that made her seem intoxicated, and her eyes were not glassy or bloodshot.
But Jeffrey Buckner, an officer in the Chattanooga Police Department's traffic and drunk driving unit with extensive training in identifying intoxication, said he noticed several cues he believes indicate Hinds was intoxicated when she left Farm to Fork based on camera footage from the restaurant.
About four hours of video recorded at Farm to Fork was shown, backing up witness statements and restaurant receipts that showed Hinds drank four beers — 76 ounces in all — and a lemon drop vodka shot between 7 and 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, 2019.
Buckner said he observed a change in Hinds' personality around 9 p.m. He said she was talking more in groups and starting to dance to the band, which had been playing for a while. He said she was the only one in the crowd clapping continuously, and she was not clapping at the same tempo as a band member who was clapping, Buckner said.
After she had 44 ounces of beer, he said, she got "very touchy" with her son and leaned on his chair for a long period of time. She has a noticeable limp when she arrived at the restaurant, but it seemed to dissipate as the night went on, he said.
Prosecutors showed the beverage glasses to help jurors visualize the amount of alcohol consumed by Hinds before she got behind the wheel just four minutes after her last drink.
"She pays her bill, she has a little bit of her beer left and you see her tilt it up all the way to get the last drop out," Buckner said.
The trial continues Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. in the courtroom of Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole.
Contact Emily Crisman at email@example.com or 423-757-6508.
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