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Mon, March 18

Witness: 'This guy is going to crash'
DUI defendant still absent from his own trial

Delbert Brechler

Delbert Brechler

KINGMAN - Cody Raymond never had a chance. Delbert Brechler was allegedly too impaired to give him one.

According to an eyewitness at Brechler's manslaughter trial, the man who killed 17-year-old Raymond pointed his car everywhere except where it was supposed to go.

He was completely incapable of controlling his vehicle as the 1988 Volvo barreled down Route 66 on the night of July 21.

Brechler, 46, spent at least a minute driving entirely on the right shoulder, headed east, and traveling faster than the 55 mph limit. He moved to the middle of the road and rode the center line for another minute before veering over to the shoulder again just seconds before he struck the 1990 Ford Ranger Raymond was driving near the highway's intersection with John L Avenue.

So said Debra Sine, an eyewitness to the crash that took Raymond's life, on the second day of testimony in Brechler's trial.

Brechler failed to appear when jury selection began Monday morning and he was still missing on Tuesday. Judge Rick Williams issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The trial has gone on without him.

Sine was driving her pickup truck with her two children after a day of shopping in Kingman. They were headed home to Peach Springs.

Sine stopped for gas at the Maverik at Andy Devine and Airway avenues and was back on the highway approaching the Motor Vehicles Department when Brechler crossed from the westbound lanes into her lane on the right.

She said she was driving the posted 55 mph limit and that Brechler was pulling away from her - while driving with all four wheels on the shoulder.

Sine said she slowed down because of the reckless manner in which Brechler drove.

"This guy is going to crash," she remembered telling her children early on. After about a minute of driving on the shoulder, Brechler swerved until the car straddled the center line and there it stayed for about another 60 seconds, said Sine.

"He was exactly in the center of the white stripes," she said. Brechler veered back to the right shoulder and a few seconds later she saw the flash of brake lights at about the time of impact.

"I saw him hit that car," she said. "Then I saw nothing but dust."

The headlights of vehicles traveling west on Route 66 illuminated the accident scene, she said.

Brechler's Volvo "flew" across the westbound lanes and came to a stop on the highway's west side shoulder. He was unhurt.

Sine said once she called 911 to report the accident she maneuvered her truck so its lights would shine on Raymond's truck. He was still inside, upside down and restrained by his seat belt. His wounds were fatal and Raymond died at Kingman Regional Medical Center a few hours later.

Brechler faces charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and three separate felony aggravated DUI charges, including extreme DUI. Brechler reportedly had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.208

Prosecutor Rod Albright will call an accident reconstruction specialist to testify today before he concludes the state's case. Defense attorney Jake Chavez will call his own accident expert when he begins his case. Closing arguments could begin this afternoon.


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