January 17, 2014 / 12:30 AM / 4 years ago

Dallas Cowboys players unsure how much Brent drank before deadly crash

DALLAS (Reuters) - Two Dallas Cowboys players testified on Thursday they had no idea how much their former teammate Josh Brent had been drinking at a private club before he got into high-speed, single-car crash that killed another teammate.

Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent enters the courtroom in Dallas, Texas January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Stone

Brent, 25, is facing charges of intoxication manslaughter for a December 8, 2012, incident when the Mercedes he was driving flipped over and caught fire on a state highway, killing his teammate, Jerry Brown Jr.

Current Cowboys safety Barry Church was one of about a half dozen players at Dallas-area club Privae before the crash and said he did not know how much alcohol Brent consumed.

“I didn’t see him throw back champagne or anything. I just saw him with one glass.”

During the players’ testimony, prosecutors showed video footage from the club of Brent dancing with a bottle of champagne in each hand, drinking straight from the bottle to see if it would refresh their memory.

Church said he left before the other players and had no idea what state Brent was in when he left.

Brent’s lawyers have argued that their client was not drunk at the time of the accident.

Brent’s blood alcohol level was 0.189, according to police documents. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08. Brent could face up to 20 years in jail, if convicted.

Another Cowboys player, defensive back Danny McCray told the court he was paying more attention to the ladies around him at the club than the amount Brent was drinking.

When asked by a prosecutor if this type of partying was typical of the team during the season, McCray replied: “This was kind of different, we were winning at the time so everyone was kind of relaxed.”

Maria Fimbres, a former cocktail waitress at the members-only club Privae told the court that Brent and Brown were at a VIP table where patrons ordered at least three bottles of champagne, at $200 a bottle, and a 750 ml bottle of cognac.

Fimbres said she met Brent months before, when they were drinking heavily with mutual friends, so she would have recognized if he was drunk when he left the club.

“He wasn’t intoxicated at the time based on what I’m trained to look at. He didn’t have slurred speech, was able to carry on a conversation and he was standing up,” she said.

But toxicologist Justin Schwane, called on Wednesday as an expert witness by the prosecution, said he tested three vials of Brent’s blood taken at the time of his arrest and found that the former NFL player had been drinking heavily.

Based on blood alcohol calculations for a person as large as the defensive lineman, Brent likely consumed 17 standard size drinks that evening, he said.

Brent was put on leave from the Cowboys after the accident and retired in July.

The trial started on Monday and is expected to run through next week.

Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Ken Wills

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