A man accused of striking and killing a motorist who got out of his car after it broke down on Interstate 84 east of Boise spent several hours drinking beers before leaving for Twin Falls, an Idaho State Police trooper testified Wednesday.
Cpl. Ben Comorosky said Patrick R. Musgrove, 28, told him he downed several beers while celebrating a friend’s birthday at two downtown Boise bars and then drank two more at home before heading east on the freeway early on Aug. 16.
Comorosky’s testimony came during a preliminary hearing in Ada County Magistrate Court. Musgrove is accused of fatally striking Winters Wareagle, 23, of Garden City. Wareagle got out of his car after it broke down near Milepost 68, about 15 miles east of the Boise Airport.
“Mr. Musgrove swerved, struck and ran over Mr. Winters Wareagle,” the trooper said.
The victim’s body was found in the middle of the eastbound slow lane, Comorosky said. He was dead when the trooper arrived.
Musgrove was sitting in the front seat of his car. The trooper said Musgrove smelled of alcohol and his eyes were red and glassy. He told the trooper he had been speeding.
A breath test revealed a blood alcohol level of .15 percent, nearly double Idaho’s .08 percent rate of intoxication for drivers.
Joe Miller, who represents Musgrove, did not put on a defense. He argued that deputy Ada County Prosecutor Tanner Stellmon did not meet his burden to show that Musgrove was criminally responsible for Wareagle’s death, but Magistrate Theresa Gardunia disagreed.
Gardunia found the prosecution met its burden to try Musgrove on two counts of vehicular manslaughter, one under the theory he caused Wareagle’s death while intoxicated and the second that the death took place because of aggravated driving while intoxicated.
Several of Wareagle’s relatives attended the hearing, some of them wearing buttons with his photo.
Antoinette Cavanaugh, an aunt, said the family was satisfied with the hearing’s outcome. She said the death of her nephew “was a tragedy” for both families.
“We really don’t want any other family to go through this. We just want the public protected,” she said.
After court, Miller said he was not surprised that his client was bound over for trial in Ada County District Court. The bar is low for that, especially since the defense rarely presents evidence then.
“We expect to put on a viable defense when this goes to trial,” Miller said.
Musgrove is scheduled to appear for arraignment before District Judge Cheri Copsey on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.