Jury hears from law enforcement in Brewer trial

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — On the second day of trial for Benjamin Brewer, the jury heard from different members of law enforcement.

Brewer is charged with six counts of vehicular homicide. He is accused of slamming his semi into traffic on I-75 in Ooltewah and killing six people and injuring several others in June of 2015.

On Tuesday Collegedale Police Chief Brian Hickman testified. He is a drug recognition expert who performed an evaluation on Brewer the day of the crash. He says he found that Brewer was impaired.

“I called that he was under the influence of a depressant and stimulant,” Chief Hickman said.

Lt. John Harmon, with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, told the jury about performing a post crash inspection.

“There are things that happen in a crash that we note was caused by the crash. So we identify the safety defects that were caused by the crash and safety defects that were prior to the crash,” Lt. Harmon said.

He says there was nothing wrong with Brewer’s brakes. He says for tractor trailer there are signs if brakes weren’t working properly.

“What happens is that braking system when the trailer system loses air and it locks the brakes up and then the tractor just pulls the trailer out of the way and that is what it is suppose to do,” Lt. Harmon said.

“Kind of a safety feature?” said District Attorney Neal Pinkston.

“It is.”

“Can they drive or override that feature?” Pinkston asked.


“Okay. It is marked by big black skid marks?”

“It is.”

“Did you see that present when you were at the scene?”

“No,” Lt. Harmon said.

A Chattanooga Police Officer with their traffic division says there was no sign of braking.

“I walked up to the scene and what stood out right off the bat is, I know there is a tractor trailer involved because I see it at the beginning of the scene, is I did not see tractor trailer brake marks prior to the impact area,” said Officer Joe Warren, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

The defense will present their case on Wednesday.

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