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UPDATE: Judge Finds Driver Guilty in Wayne County Child's Death

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 12/5/13
WAYNE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A driver was found guilty earlier this week of a crash that killed a young girl.

A bench trial for for Brandon M. Cornette, 29, of Inez, Kentucky was held Tuesday in Wayne County Magistrate Court.

Cornette was charged with misdemeanor manslaughter-negligent homicide in connection with the accident that killed 6-year-old Isol Colleen Newsome in July.

During the trial, seven people testified, including Cornette.

Deputy Sheriff Randall Pratt took the stand to discuss the accident.

He said when he got on scene along Rt. 52 in the Laura Fork Road area near Fort Gay, the little girl had already been taken to the hospital, where she later died.

Pratt told the court that part of the headlight from the car, along with a fresh tire print, were in the dirt area off the side of the road.

Pratt testified that the damage to the vehicle was consistent with impact, but couldn't determine from the damage how the accident happened.

Prosecutor Tom Plymale presented 31 pictures to Magistrate John Cavins, showing the scene.

Pratt used the photos to show where the vehicle went off the road.

The pictures also showed the injuries that the little girl received in the crash, including injuries to her right hip, right foot and right left.

Several witnesses also took the stand, including three people who saw the crash, and three people that were inside of the vehicle.

The witnesses that live in the area where the crash happened testified that the little girl was standing a foot or two away from the side of the road.

They say her brothers had run across the road a couple of minutes before the accident happened and that she and her father were standing at the edge of the road, waiting to cross, when she was hit.

The witnesses testified that they believed that Cornette was speeding, but they have not been able to determine how fast he was going at the time of the accident.

The passengers in the car say that they were heading to watch some races and that Cornette's girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat told him to set the cruise control. She testified that she knew there were police out and didn't want him to get pulled over.

When Cornette took the stand, he testified that he thought he set the speed control at 57 miles per hour, which is above the speed limit.

One of the passengers who was in the backseat testified, "I heard a thump and heard Brandon say, 'Oh my God, I think I just hit a kid' and then we stopped the car and got out and ran back to the little girl to see if there was something we could do."

The three people inside the car testified they never felt the car swerve or veer off the road. The witnesses that were outside of the car said Cornette was driving on, or over the white line on the side of the road.

Cornette's girlfriend also testified during the hearing. She said that she saw the little girl take her last step before getting hit, but did not see her before that last second.

She went out and took pictures the day after the crash. Those pictures were also presented to Magistrate Cavins, showing a trailer that was parked at the edge of the road that she and Cornette said impaired their visibility in the area.

The last person to take the stand was Brandon Cornette.

Cornette admitted on the stand to taking a percocet the day before the crash. He said he had a tooth ache and had asked his girlfriend to get him one of her mother's pills for the pain.

He said he could not recall prior to that the last time that he had taken any drugs, and said he has not taken any since.

After the crash Cornette says he voluntarily went to the hospital for drug testing, which showed Oxycodone in his system.

Cornette says he heard the crash before he knew was happened. "All the sudden you know, I just heard a thud," Cornette testified.

"when it happened, I just slowed down. It was just like she cam from, you know, the side of the road. It's like we got there at the same time," Cornette testified.

You can watch Cornette's full testimony in the video above.

Magistrate Judge John Cavins found Cornette guilty and sentenced him to 1 year in jail and a $100 fine.

Cornette's attorney says they plan to appeal the verdict to Wayne County Circuit Court. The sentence will not be imposed until that appeal is heard. Cornette remains free on bond.



UPDATE 12/3/13 @ 3:20 p.m.
WAYNE, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A driver has been found guilty of hitting and killing a little girl with his car.

A bench trial for Brandon M. Cornette, 29, of Inez, Kentucky was held Tuesday in Wayne County Magistrate Court.

Cornette was charged with misdemeanor manslaughter-negligent homicide in connection with the accident that killed 6-year-old Isol Colleen Newsome in July.

Investigators say Cornette was driving along Rt. 52 in the area of Laura Fork Road near Fort Gay when he hit and killed Newsome. The accident happened about 7:45 p.m.

According to the criminal complaint, Cornette told Wayne County Sheriff's Deputies that the little girl stepped out into the road and he wasn't able to come to a stop, hitting her.

Deputies say there were no tire marks consistent with Cornette trying to stop before hitting Newsome.

Witnesses told deputies that Cornette was speeding and ran off the right side of the road before hitting the little girl. The victim's father says that Cornette was off the road about a foot when he hit her.

Following testimony from several witnesses and Cornette, who testified in his own defense, Magistrate Judge John Cavins found Cornette guilty and sentenced him to 1 year in jail and a $100 fine.

Cornette’s attorney says they plan to appeal the verdict to Wayne County Circuit Court. The sentence will not be imposed until that appeal is heard. Cornette remains free on bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ. com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 12/3/13 @ 2:45 p.m.
WAYNE, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A half dozen witnesses are expected to testify Tuesday during the bench trial for the man charged with hitting and killing a little girl with his car.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office charged Brandon M. Cornette, 29, of Inez, Kentucky with misdemeanor manslaughter-negligent homicide in connection with the accident that killed 6-year-old Isol Colleen Newsome in July.

Investigators say Cornette was driving along Rt. 52 in the area of Laura Fork Road, near Fort Gay when he hit and killed Newsome. The accident happened about 7:45 p.m.

According to the criminal complaint, Cornette told Wayne County Sheriff's Deputies that the little girl stepped out into the road and he wasn't able to come to a stop, hitting her.

Deputies say there were no tire marks consistent with Cornette trying to stop before hitting Newsome.

Witnesses told deputies that Cornette was speeding and ran off the right side of the road before hitting the little girl. The victim's father says that Cornette was off the road about a foot when he hit her.

Cornette’s trial is taking place in Wayne County Magistrate Court.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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