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State trooper testifies against Herlin Alvarez
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The man accused of killing a couple when his truck slammed into their motorcycle near Centertown five years ago had his first hearing Tuesday and was bound to the grand jury.
For the defendant, Herlin Alvarez, 26, the hearing was superficial since prosecutors had already taken his case before the grand jury, coming away with indictments not only on charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, but also on the more serious charges of vehicular homicide and criminally negligent homicide.
Alvarez is accused of killing Samantha Roach and Lynn Bell, both 42, when his pickup struck them on Nashville Highway near Centertown on Sept. 30, 2008. Alvarez fled the scene and remained at-large until recently when he was nabbed by U.S. Customs officials as he tried to board a plane in Atlanta for his native Guatemala.
During Tuesday’s hearing before General Sessions Judge Bill Locke, Highway Patrol Sgt. Billy Prater testified that evidence found at the scene will prove the wreck was Alvarez’s fault.
“The truck hit the motorcycle on the wrong side of the road,” Prater testified, noting Alvarez crossed the center line according to the evidence he saw at the scene.
Specifically, Prater said that when the vehicles collided, the impact flattened the truck tire, causing it to leave marks on the road. The marks were like a smoking gun to where the crash occurred on the road.
However, defense attorney Bud Sharp pointed out it has not been shown what could have caused Alvarez to cross the center line. Prater agreed there was no signs of alcohol or drugs in the truck and Alvarez was on his way to Porter Roofing where he was a subcontractor.
“You don’t know what caused the accident, do you?” Sharp asked, suggesting that something like a dog running into Alvarez’s path could have caused him to swerve into the oncoming lane.
Prater went on to say Alvarez has admitted being the driver of the truck. Lawmen already knew that since they found documents inside the wreckage of the pic up which even included an earlier citation against him by the Highway Patrol in another county.
Prater said much time was spent trying to catch Alvarez the day of the crash. His brother and a friend were subsequently arrested and served time for being accessories after the fact. They were the ones who helped Alvarez flee the state.
Alvarez remains held without bond awaiting trial. He could face up to 16 years on the nine counts he was indicted on last week.
He will be deported once his case is resolved here and he serves any jail time he owes.