The trial of a Waldorf man accused of killing one man and injuring a woman in a drunken car crash in July 2018 got underway Monday in Charles County Circuit Court.
Sammie Antrawn Davis, 45, is charged with the death of 24-year-old Kevin Cox of Brandywine following an accident in the early morning hours of July 1, 2018, on Route 228 in the area of Thumper Place. Cox’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, 25-year-old Breana Rodgers, was injured but survived. Davis is represented by public defenders Derrick Johnson and Zain Shirazi, and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorneys John Stackhouse and Jonathan Beattie.
A witness to the accident, Nikita Pounds, testified on Tuesday morning to what she saw occur that night. Pounds said she was headed home from dinner with a relative in the Lanham area and was traveling east. She observed a black car driving in the left lane slowly with its hazard lights flashing, as well as a burgundy Escalade. Pounds testified that she saw the two cars collide, and then saw sparks flying and the Escalade spinning out. Both cars came to rest with the Escalade obscuring her view of the black car, Pounds said, and she got out of her vehicle to check on the respective motorists.
When she approached the Escalade, its driver, later identified as Davis, was alert and apparently uninjured. Pounds said Davis allegedly asked her whether the accident was his fault. She then went to check on Rodgers and Cox. Rodgers was in and out of consciousness, Pounds said, but Cox was slumped against the passenger side door and remained unresponsive the entire time.
Laura Waters, a forensic scientist with the Maryland State Police’s crime laboratory who was introduced as an expert witness by the prosecution, testified Tuesday that she conducted tests on Davis’ blood sample that was collected at the hospital following the accident. Per Waters’ testimony, Davis’ blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was .17, well over the .08 legal limit.
While on the stand Wednesday, Rodgers testified that she had had a single shot “hours before” she and Cox got in the car to drive him home that night. The night of the accident, Rodgers testified, she had been hanging out at her home with Cox. They’d planned to go out later but got in a minor argument, and so she was taking him home. While driving on Route 228, she said, she went to pull over because the argument was intensifying and she didn’t want to endanger their safety. Rodgers said she remembered pulling over to the side of the road to talk to Cox, “and then I was waking up to a wreck.”
Rodgers said she had no recollection of what actually happened, but when she came to she saw Cox still in the passenger seat “positioned weird” and non-responsive to her calling his name.
Rodgers was the subject of a motion that compelled her to testify Wednesday afternoon, after attorneys learned on Tuesday that the woman had been hesitant to take the stand. In response to cross-examination questions from Shirazi, Rodgers said she was “just being cautious,” and was concerned about whether or not she could incriminate herself by testifying in the case.
In Stackhouse’s re-direct examination, he asked whether she had ever been threatened with prosecution as they prepared for trial: Rodgers confirmed she had not. Shortly before the fatal accident, Rodgers may have been involved in a separate fender-bender with another vehicle that was still on the roadway. As he processed the scene that night, Cpl. Justin Zimmerman of the MSP’s crash reconstruction team said the third car was determined to not be involved in this incident.
At the scene of the accident, Zimmerman said, he observed gouge marks on the asphalt indicative of a severe crash. An empty pint of Jose Cuervo was recovered from Davis’ car, along with one empty Bud Light Platinum and one full one. The partial rear-end crash resulted in severe crush damage to Rodgers’ Volkswagen Passat, also evident of “a lot of force,” Zimmerman said.
Further analysis of the Escalade’s airbag sensors in the following days showed that in the seconds leading up to the crash, Davis did not attempt to hit the brakes, Zimmerman said. Rather, he appeared to accelerate slightly rather than decelerate, and hit Rodgers’s Passat at 70 mph. The Volkswagen, Zimmerman said, was either “stopped or moving very slow” at the time of the crash.
Davis’ trial was ongoing at press time Thursday and expected to move into deliberations by the end of the week.