Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Attorneys make openings statements in Brittany Miles trial in Pasco

NEW PORT RICHEY — Brittany Miles' attorney says she was high on prescription pills during a 2011 rampage that ended with a Pasco County deputy thrown onto U.S. 19 and a Hernando motorcyclist dead.

This was her "rock bottom," Aaron Delgado said in opening statements in Miles' trial Monday.

Miles, 22, is facing charges of felony attempted murder, escape, fleeing law enforcement and DUI. If convicted, she faces possible life in prison.

"Brittany Miles admits she was driving. She admits she fled. She admits all of that. She is guilty of all those things," Delgado told the jurors. "We don't challenge it. We don't contest it.

"But she is not guilty of attempted murder."

On May 10, 2011, at least three witnesses called 911 to report that Miles, a dancer at a strip club called the Brass Flamingo and mother of a toddler, was driving erratically.

Pasco Deputy Ashley Grady pulled Miles over on U.S. 19 in Hudson on suspicion of driving under the influence. Miles told deputies she'd had seven drinks; a drug test later said she had oxycodone and Xanax in her system.

Miles was arrested and placed in the back of a patrol car. Authorities say Miles got one hand free from her handcuffs and reached through the cruiser's window — which had been rolled down for deputies to speak with Miles — to open the door. Miles then ran to her truck and peeled out back onto U.S. 19, authorities said.

Grady, now 24, leapt onto the running board, clung to the truck and tried to pull the keys out of the ignition. Assistant State Attorney Vin Petty said Miles punched the gas to 70 mph and tried to shove Grady out.

Grady "was locked in a life or death struggle," Petty said to the jury. "At that speed, you can't simply jump off."

He said Miles eventually won, flinging Grady onto the southbound lanes of U.S. 19. Grady was cut, bruised and had a broken leg, and was later suspended for five days without pay for violating agency regulation by leaving the cruiser window down.

Delgado said Miles did not intentionally do this.

"Was there a struggle inside that vehicle?" Delgado said to jurors. "You will hear conflicting evidence on that."

Headed north at 100 mph with cruisers on her tail, Miles struck and killed motorcyclist Henry McCain, 67, at U.S. 19 and County Line Road, authorities said.

That crash happened in Hernando County, where Miles will have a separate trial in January on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated fleeing and eluding. If convicted of murder, the sentence is life in prison.

Earlier this year, Miles pleaded no contest to the Pasco charges and threw herself at the mercy of the court. But she withdrew her plea in May after learning the judge has no discretion in her sentencing: On charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, the law says the sentence must be life in prison, without parole.

As part of the presentencing investigation for that plea, Miles made this statement, according to court records: "I just want Deputy Grady to know how sorry I am that she was injured that day. She was only trying to do her job. I did not mean for anyone to get hurt, I wasn't in my right state of mind and had I been, none of this would have happened. I really can't express how sorry I am for everything that occurred that day and I hope that somehow the ones injured can find it in their heart to forgive me. I know that I need help and am willing to take whatever help I can get."

Relatives say Miles became addicted to painkillers after a car accident two years earlier, where, they said, she was hit by a drunken driver. More than a dozen loved ones wrote letters to the court on Miles' behalf, begging for leniency. They spoke of how kind and loving Miles was before her descent into addiction.

"This could have been anyone's child," Miles' mother, Debra Miles, a Hernando sheriff's deputy, wrote in a letter to the court.

The trial is expected to end Wednesday or Thursday.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

Comments
Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

There was an empty seat in the pew at the back of my church Sunday. It was where Eddie Card used to sit.That’s where I would see Eddie and his wonderful wife, Joan, nearly every week. He would always extend his hand and give mine a firm shake.He woul...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, the magnetic, movie-star-handsome preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. He was 9...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Tampa Bay has broken record high temperatures since Monday, and Thursday should be no different.Happy Thursday! We are rolling through the week and once again temperatures will be near record highs this afternoon. If we break the record high of 85° t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Here is the 2018 day-by-day Grapefruit League schedule. Check out the Tampa Bay Times’ 2018 Spring Training Guide for stadium locations, contact information, team-by-team schedules, ticket information and more.Thursday, Feb. 22U. of Tampa vs. Philade...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — A man was rescued early Thursday morning after Hillsborough County deputies say his boat was swept away by a strong tide and capsized in the Little Manatee River.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was received ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Rubio taken to task; Romano on the GOP lobby; St. Pete’s World Liquors sign finds new home; what if Rays know what they’re doing?

The Daystarter: Rubio taken to task; Romano on the GOP lobby; St. Pete’s World Liquors sign finds new home; what if Rays know what they’re doing?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Temperatures peaked Wednesday, but don’t expect cooler air to return just yet. Highs will remain in the mid 80s through next week, according to 10Weather WTSP. And it will re...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Gun advocates are absolutely right about this:A ban on assault weapons will not end school shootings.How do we know?Because there was a federal ban on assault weapons for 10 years, and mass killings persisted. That’s because a ban deals only with fut...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Supercross brings athletes — not just motorcycle riders — to Tampa

Supercross brings athletes — not just motorcycle riders — to Tampa

TAMPA — When breaking down the competitive skill in Saturday night’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series event at Raymond James Stadium, you won’t find an analysis of 40-yard dash times, bench-press weights or vertical-leap measurements...
Published: 02/22/18

Ernest Hooper: Andrew Young, in Tampa for award, holds up crown of inspiration at 85

Theologian and Morehouse College graduate Howard Thurman, a man who influenced many of the nation’s civil rights leaders, once issued a challenge to students at the famed Atlanta school.Over the heads of her students, Morehouse holds a crown that she...
Published: 02/22/18
PolitiFact: Donald Trump falsely says he never denied Russian meddling

PolitiFact: Donald Trump falsely says he never denied Russian meddling

The indictments of 13 Russians detailing how they used Facebook and Twitter to undercut Hillary Clinton and promote President Donald Trump spurred a flurry of tweets from Trump over the Presidents Day weekend."I never said Russia did not meddle in th...
Published: 02/22/18