Polo Tycoon Manslaughter Trial Jurors See Crushed Cars from Accident

Jurors in John Goodman's drunk driving manslaughter case were taken to the cars.

March 15, 2012, 1:44 PM

March 15, 2012 — -- Jurors in the drunken driving manslaughter trial of polo tycoon John Goodman were taken today to see the crushed remains of the two cars involved in the accident that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

Goodman's car, a black Bentley, suffered significant damage to the front, but it was Wilson's beige Hyundai Sonata that was mangled. The entire right side of the car all the way to the back wheel was gone.

Jurors, Goodman, attorneys, press and members of the public circled the cars and examined the damage the 5,600 pound Bentley had on the 3,600 pound Hyundai. Wilson's family walked around his car before peering in the windows of the Bentley.

Goodman, 48, has denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, but other testimony have contradicted his denial. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

Palm Beach County Deputy Sheriff Troy Snelgrove was at the scene of the crash told the court today, "It was apparent that the Bentley had went through the stop sign" in Wellington, Fla., on the night of Feb. 12, 2010.

Investigators have estimated Goodman's car was going at about 63 miles per hour.

When Snelgrove arrived at Wellington Regional Hospital, Goodman was in the radiology department. He said Goodman's "eyes were bloodshot and glassy. I did smell alcoholic beverage."

He also noted that Goodman was "slow in his movements" and that "he was slurring his speech." Snelgrove said that Goodman refused to give blood when he was asked for it. Snelgrove ordered that blood be drawn twice that morning.

Jurors also listened to a number of 911 calls today, including Goodman's call, where he asked "Will you please tell me if everyone is okay?" and told the dispatcher, "I did not see another car when I pulled out, but I obviously hit something."

"I'm so sorry. This is a disaster," Goodman said.

Wilson's mother Lili Wilson cried as she listened to the tape and his father William Wilson kept his head down.

Goodman's Bentley slammed into Wilson's Hyundai , sending it into a nearby canal, where it landed upside down. Wilson, an engineering graduate, was still strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

Goodman left the scene of the accident and didn't call 911 until nearly an hour after the crash. The multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach is being tried on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. He has pleaded not guilty, and faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted.

Goodman, a multimillionaire, has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.

Prosecutor Ellen Roberts told jurors that Goodman downed the equivalent of 16 to 18 alcoholic drinks on the night of the accident before getting into his Bentley and running a stop sign in Wellington, Fla.

But Goodman's defense has said he was not drunk at the time of the crash, and that his car malfunctioned, speeding out of control through the stop sign.

Attorney Roy Black told the court in his opening statement that his client had briefly lost consciousness after the crash and didn't know a car had landed in the canal.

Goodman went to an acquaintance's nearby barn after the crash and got drunk there in an effort to handle the pain of his multiple injuries, Black explained.

Polo Club Vehicular Homicide Trial

On Wednesday, witnesses included the first person to call 911 from the scene, other first responders, the woman whose trailer Goodman stopped at for help, and Goodman's girlfriend, who is now his adopted daughter.

An emergency medical technicians at the scene testified that Goodman appeared to have been drinking, but not excessively.

"I felt he had a couple of drinks. He stated that to us," EMT Robert Perreault told the court, but added that he did not believe Goodman has consumed a large amount of alcohol.

Perreault said that Goodman's gait was normal, but that he had a head laceration, slurred speech and kept repeating himself.

Goodman's girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, told the court she didn't remember Goodman telling her of an "end of the world accident" when he called her that night, but said he told her he had been in an accident. She also said Goodman did not mention a car malfunction or having a head injury.

In accordance with a previous court order, there was no mention of the adoption during her testimony.

The case will likely go the jury sometime next week.

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