BRETT PRINCE A/K/A BRETT M. PRINCE A/K/A BRETT MATTHEW PRINCE APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 10/29/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. JEFF WEILL
SR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: KEVIN DALE CAMP JARED KEITH
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Brett Prince was convicted in the First Judicial District of
the Hinds County Circuit Court of five counts of aggravated
driving under the influence (DUI) in violation of Mississippi
Code Annotated section 63-11-30(5) (Rev. 2013). These
convictions stemmed from an automobile accident in which
Prince struck the Salas family vehicle at a high rate of
speed, causing a death and other severe injuries. The jury
found that Prince operated his vehicle while under the
influence of alcohol, with a blood-alcohol concentration
(BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08%, and that he was the
cause of both the resulting death and serious bodily
injuries. As a result, Prince was sentenced to serve
twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections (MDOC) for Count I, five years each
for Counts II and III, and twenty years each for Counts IV
and V, with the sentence for Count I to run consecutively to
the sentence for Count II, and concurrently with the
sentences for Counts III-V, totaling a term of thirty
Prince now appeals, asserting that the State failed to
present sufficient evidence to prove the requisite elements
of the crimes charged, that the verdict was against the
weight of the evidence, that the circuit court erred
regarding the admission of certain evidence, and that the
court erred in denying proposed jury instruction D-3. Finding
no error, we affirm.
OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 15, 2013, Prince collided with the Salas family's
vehicle after running a red light at the intersection of
Springridge Road and Highway 18. Prince struck the Salas
vehicle-occupied by Michael, his wife, and their four
children-at an excessive rate of speed; there was dispute at
trial among the accident-reconstruction experts regarding
Prince's exact speed. Michael testified as to his
family's injuries. He sustained a broken hip and broken
ribs, while the Salases' youngest son died at the scene.
In addition, one of the children suffered paralysis of his
right side, is now bound to a wheelchair, and suffers brain
damage, delayed speech, inability to communicate, and loss of
vision. Another Salas child suffered paralysis in her left
arm and injuries that left permanent scarring on her face.
The last child suffered a neck injury.
Trooper James Gray of the Mississippi Highway Patrol
responded to the scene of the accident. When he arrived, Gray
observed the Salases' tan SUV in the median, and
Prince's Ford pickup truck located just east of the SUV.
Gray noticed that the airbags had been deployed in
Prince's vehicle, and that beer cans were found in and
around the SUV driven by Michael; officers found a cooler
full of alcoholic beverages in the bed of Prince's truck.
Witnesses to the collision testified to the events that took
place. One witness, Jerrica Davis, stated that prior to the
accident, Prince approached her vehicle from the rear,
driving in an erratic manner, and caused her and others'
vehicles to veer off the road. Davis stated that she then
attempted to record Prince's license-plate number to
report to authorities. Unable to catch up with Prince,
however, Davis testified that she realized she would be able
to get Prince's tag number at the red light they were
approaching. But Davis observed that Prince was not slowing,
and subsequently ran the red light, causing the ensuing
collision. Following the wreck, multiple witnesses offered
aid. Of those witnesses that assisted Prince, one witness
testified that beer cans poured out of his truck when he
opened the door and that he reeked of alcohol. Another
witness stated that beer cans were flung out the truck's
cab during the course of the collision.
Shortly after Gray appeared on scene, Trooper Maurice Kennedy
of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety arrived to
assist. Kennedy stated that he arrived at approximately 6:19
p.m., and that at that time, Prince was already handcuffed
and seated in the back of a Hinds County Sheriffs Office
patrol car. Kennedy stated that he observed Prince for
forty-one minutes, which began at 6:35 p.m. Photographs at
the scene, however, showed that Kennedy was outside of
Prince's presence at 6:37 p.m., 6:46 p.m., 6:47 p.m., and
6:53 p.m. Nonetheless, Kennedy opined that Prince appeared to
be intoxicated based upon Prince's slurred speech,
glazed-red eyes, his emanating of an alcoholic odor, and his
admission to Kennedy that he had been drinking. Following
these observations, Kennedy elected to conduct a breathalyzer
test at the scene, utilizing a portable "Intoxilyzer
8000." Kennedy began the breath test at 7:16 p.m., with
the first breath sample being taken at 7:23 p.m. The results
of the breathalyzer test indicated Prince possessed a BAC of
On September 28, 2015, trial commenced, and Prince was
convicted by a jury of five counts of aggravated DUI in
violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 63-11-30(5).
Prince moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict
(JNOV) or, in the alternative, a new trial. The circuit court
denied his motion. Prince now appeals.
The circuit court did not err by admitting into evidence the
results of the Intoxilyzer 8000.
Before a court may admit into evidence the results of a DUI
test, the court must first determine that: (1) the proper
procedures were followed; (2) the operator of the machine was
properly certified to perform the test; and (3) the
accuracy of the machine was properly certified. Mcllwain
v. State, 700 So.2d 586, 590 (¶18) (Miss. 1997). At
trial, Prince sought to exclude the results of his
breathalyzer test for two reasons: (1) Kennedy allegedly did
not conduct the mandatory twenty-minute observation period
before administering the breathalyzer, as required by police
procedure; and (2) the State allegedly violated Uniform Rule
of Circuit and County Court 9.04 by failing to disclose
documents required for the introduction of the Intoxilyzer
8000 results. Upon review of the record, we find no error.
The observation period was proper.
Prince first argues that Kennedy did not perform the
mandatory twenty-minute observation period of Prince, and
therefore, the results should not have been admitted into
evidence-this was the principal theme of his defense
throughout trial. "The standard of review regarding the
admission or exclusion of evidence is abuse of
discretion." Parkman v. State, 108 So.
3d443, 445 (¶5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012). "Absent an
abuse of that discretion, the trial court's decision will
not be disturbed on appeal." Id. (quoting
McCoy v. State, 820 So.2d 25, 31 (¶15) (Miss.
Ct. App. 2002)).
In Parkman, this Court reaffirmed the principles set
forth in the seminal case of Hudspeth v. State, 28
So.3d 600 (Miss. Ct. App. 2009), and stated:
Mississippi Code Annotated section 63-1 l-5(1)(c) (Rev. 2004)
states that "[n]o such tests shall be given by any
officer or any agency to any person within fifteen (15)
minutes of consumption of any substance by mouth."
However, a twenty-minute observation period is required under
the Mississippi Department of Public Safety's guidelines