Man ac­cused in triple-fa­tal Route 422 crash wants ev­i­dence sup­pressed

The Phoenix - - LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

One of two men await­ing trial for al­legedly caus­ing a triple-fa­tal crash while rac­ing on Route 422 in West Potts­grove is try­ing to pre­vent jurors from ever see­ing a cell­phone video of an ear­lier race the pair par­tic­i­pated in on Route 100.

Evaughn-Sha An­to­nio Wal­ters, 21, through his lawyer, filed papers in Mont­gomery County Court seek­ing to sup­press from his up­com­ing trial a cell­phone video pros­e­cu­tors al­leged he cre­ated of the Route 100 race that oc­curred an hour be­fore the fa­tal Feb. 4, 2017, crash. De­fense lawyer Ryan L. Hyde con­tends the video was ob­tained by county de­tec­tives with­out the proper con­sent from Wal­ters.

“In the present case the scope of the of­fi­cer’s search, by down­load­ing the con- tents of the phone, ex­ceeded de­fen­dant’s con­sent and thus the search was con­ducted il­le­gally and the fruits of the search should be sup­pressed,” Hyde wrote in court papers.

But in an af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause, au­thor­i­ties main­tain that on Feb. 4 Wal­ters “pro­vided writ­ten con­sent” to county De­tec­tive Todd Richard to down­load the con­tents of his cell­phone and Richard was able to re­trieve the video of the Route 100 race, which Wal­ters al­legedly filmed while he drove at speeds reach­ing 140 mph. Other videos also were found on Wal­ters’ phone, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

“Many of the videos are of cars rac­ing on the streets or driv­ing reck­lessly in park­ing lots. In some of the videos the per­son film­ing the video is in­side a car film­ing a race with an­other car,” de­tec­tives wrote in the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

Judge Todd D. Eisen­berg is ex­pected to hold a hear- ing on the ad­mis­si­bil­ity of the cell­phone video be­fore Wal­ters’ trial be­gins on Oct. 16.

Wal­ters, of Washington, D.C., faces two counts of third-de­gree mur­der, one count each of third-de­gree mur­der of an un­born child and con­spir­acy to com­mit third-de­gree mur­der as well as charges of homi­cide by ve­hi­cle, unsworn fal­si­fi­ca­tion to au­thor­i­ties and reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing other per­sons in con­nec­tion with the 12:02 a.m. Feb. 4 crash on east­bound Route 422 in West Potts­grove that killed a man, a woman and her un­born child.

A sec­ond driver, Shone G. San­ti­ago, 22, of New York, N.Y., also faces the mur­der-re­lated charges and a charge of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of mar­i­juana in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent and will stand trial with Wal­ters.

Killed in the crash were An­thony Ro­driguez, 23, of East Elmhurst, N.Y., and Marissa Christina Kelly, 20 of Strouds­burg, Mon­roe County, who were pas­sen­gers in San­ti­ago’s white BMW sedan. Kelly also was preg­nant, au­thor­i­ties said. De­tec­tives al­leged San­ti­ago’s car was trav­el­ing at a min­i­mum speed of 121mph just be­fore the crash.

The crash oc­curred near a con­struc­tion area and the posted speed limit is 40 mph and the area is marked by con­struc­tion zone warn­ing signs, au­thor­i­ties said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors de­ter­mined Wal­ters, driv­ing a 2007 Toy­ota Camry, called 911 and told dis­patch­ers he wit­nessed a car “run off the road.”

In his ini­tial state­ment to de­tec­tives Wal­ters claimed that San­ti­ago and he were trav­el­ing at a slow speed at the east­bound en­trance to the Route 422 by­pass in Dou­glassville, Berks County, when a black Dodge Chal­lenger with a Delaware li­cense plate pulled up be­side San­ti­ago and then both cars “took off just fly­ing.” Wal­ters claimed he even­tu­ally came upon the dam­aged guard rail, stopped his car and saw San­ti­ago’s car in the ravine up­side down.

Wal­ters ini­tially claimed the black Dodge Chal­lenger also stopped at the scene but then fled.

Based on Wal­ters’ de­scrip­tions au­thor­i­ties ini­tially were search­ing for a black Dodge Chal­lenger hav­ing a Delaware li­cense plate, dark tinted win­dows, bright head­lights and yel­low fog lights.

How­ever, de­tec­tives down­loaded the video from Wal­ters’ cell­phone de­pict­ing the ear­lier race in the south­bound lanes of Route 100 near Shoe­maker Road and de­ter­mined the cars in­volved where op­er­ated by San­ti­ago and Wal­ters, who was film­ing the race as he drove. The video recorded the speedome­ter of Wal­ters’ ve­hi­cle at 140 mph dur­ing the ear­lier race, court papers in­di­cate.

Dur­ing a sub­se­quent March 1 in­ter­view Wal­ters ad­mit­ted to rac­ing San­ti­ago on Route 100 and later on Route 422 and to ly­ing about a black Dodge be­ing part of the Route 422 race, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

Wal­ters, who ad­mit­ted to trav­el­ing be­tween 80and 100-mph dur­ing the Route 422 race, claimed he was be­hind San­ti­ago’s car when he ob­served San­ti­ago lose con­trol of his car on a curve, crash through the guard rail and ca­reen into the ravine.

Evaughn-Sha An­to­nio Wal­ters

Shone G. San­ti­ago

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