BROOKSVILLE — A grand jury Tuesday indicted Brittany Elizabeth Miles on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated fleeing in a May 10 crash that left a Spring Hill man dead.
As she sped away from deputies that morning, authorities say, the 21-year-old's pickup slammed into and killed Henry F. McCain, a motorcyclist, as he pulled onto U.S. 19 from County Line Road.
"Unbelievable," said Miles' mother, Debra Miles, after hearing of the murder charge. A Hernando County sheriff's deputy, she spoke publicly for the first time since her daughter was arrested.
"She's not a bad kid," Debra Miles said. "It could have been anybody's kid."
McCain and his wife, Anita, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary just six months before he was killed. She felt the charges against Miles were just.
"She deserves it. She ran over Henry like he was trash on the road and kept on going," Anita McCain said. "If her (truck) hadn't given out on her, she would have killed someone else probably."
On the morning of May 10, Miles was stopped in Hudson on suspicion of driving under the influence. Two deputies worked the 7:19 a.m. traffic stop — Christopher Greifenberger and Ashley Grady, both 23 at the time.
Miles, authorities say, admitted she'd had seven drinks the night before. As she sat in the back of Grady's patrol car, Greifenberger asked to speak with Miles. So, reports say, Grady rolled down the window, but when Greifenberger finished the interview, neither rolled it back up.
Investigators say Miles, of Spring Hill, then "released herself from the handcuffs," escaped through the open window and nearly killed Grady as she fled in her 2002 Dodge Ram.
With deputies in pursuit, investigators say, Miles' pickup barreled through the intersection of U.S. 19 and County Line Road and struck the 67-year-old McCain, hurling his body nearly 200 feet. Miles sped off and was caught about a mile away.
Prosecutor Pete Magrino explained that because McCain died while Miles was allegedly committing a pair of specific felonies — escape and resisting a law enforcement officer with violence — the count against her was more substantial. Under the law, Magrino said, if someone causes a death while committing one of 17 crimes, known as enumerated felonies, that person can be charged with first-degree murder.
Though McCain's daughter, Kellie McCain, said she's never felt anger toward Miles, she also believed the grand jury's decision was appropriate.
"That's what needed to happen," she said. "My father died as a direct result of her actions."
McCain was a quiet, caring family man who worked as a funeral director at Thomas B. Dobies Funeral Home & Crematory for about a decade. McCain and his wife each had two children from previous marriages.
Over the past two years, Miles' friends and neighbors say, the young mother spiraled into drug abuse, violence and bad decisions.
The night before the fatal accident, she was dancing under the stage name "Liza" at the Brass Flamingo, a strip club in Port Richey. About 2 a.m., a manager said, a club employee escorted Miles outside following a dispute. She peeled out of the club's parking lot. Throughout the early morning, three people called 911 to report her erratic driving before she was pulled over.
Miles, now being held without bail in the Pasco County Jail, faces additional charges in Pasco.
John Woodrow Cox can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1432.