Lawyers in SFA students’ death case allege tampering of camera card

Lawyers in SFA students’ death case allege tampering of camera card
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 4:36 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2023 at 10:00 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Another hearing took place Wednesday in an Angelina County courtroom over the fatal crash that killed two SFA students. Micah McAfoose and Graylan Spring were driving in Corrigan on January 20 when they collided with an 18-wheeler. Both later died of their injuries.

Both sides gathered today with their experts to extract the footage taken from a dashcam inside of the truck during the wreck that killed the two athletes.

Last week the Spring family’s attorney, Mike Love, said the truck’s dashcam video’s SD card had been altered. Today, another attorney hired by the Springs, Nick Wooten, says it was discovered by the experts that no files were on the SD card at all.

“The only evidence that we had was that the disk was wiped, and that was not something that was done accidentally. All that we know is that the plaintiffs have not had possession of that disk, so we don’t know who did that or when it occurred,” Wooten said.

Love asked the judge in the hearing if the defense’s expert could testify on the chain of custody after the dashcam was removed.

The defense’s attorney, Marcy Rothman, who declined to speak to us after the hearing, said before court that it is for the discovery process.

“What I think is going to wind up happening, and I think there is going to be a determination, and I don’t know this because I can’t make that determination myself, but there are no folders on the disk. How that happened and what happened is a matter for discovery once this case gets going,” Rothman said.

Rothman has asked that the Springs’ attorneys turn over the evidence from both Spring’s and McAfoose’s phones for a complete copy to be made.

Love argued that a complete copy isn’t needed, but they are willing to have an expert download that data.

“We will continue to gather evidence and will continue to investigate the case. I think our biggest concern as the plaintiffs, and we heard this today, is now there is suddenly an attempt to blame these young men for not avoiding this truck that pulled out in front of them. And that’s an awful easy excuse to make if you don’t have the actual evidence from the event,” Wooten said.

A TxDOT crash report stated the truck driver failed to yield right of way.

Both sides agreed to try to work out proper protocol to follow to extract needed data from the cell phones of all involved.

If they can’t agree on a set protocol to handle the phones, they will meet back in court for another hearing next Tuesday at 9:30.

The McAfoose family has officially joined the lawsuit, as well. The suit does not specify a dollar amount.