Details of Drag Racing Deaths Revealed

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A state medical examiner this week offered gruesome details of the injuries incurred in the February 2008 street race that ended in tragedy for its eight victims and put two Waldorf, Md. men on trial.

Tavon Taylor, 20, back in court Feb. 16 after a 10-day recess due to the weather, returned to face the grisly testimony of Dr. Carol H. Allan, assistant medical examiner in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Maryland.

Starting with Blaine Briscoe, one of the two victims she examined herself, Allan called out a litany of injuries. Briscoe suffered a broken clavicle, broken ribs, separation of the spinal column, crushed pelvis, and leg amputation. The amputation, she further explained, was the type that came as a result of the high speed of the vehicle; it wasn’t a precise, surgical-like cut.

“This kind of amputation is not nice and neat,” she said. “It crushes the tissue, fractures the bone, and tears the muscle.”

Allan explained that the victims did not have to be facing the car head-on to sustain the wounds they did. “A person could be walking in any direction or standing perpendicular to the approaching vehicle.”

She also explained the nature of primary, secondary, and tertiary injuries as related to pedestrian injuries. Primary injuries are from the initial impact; secondary injuries could come from any other impacts with the vehicle, while tertiary injuries could come from impact with the ground or possibly being run over by another vehicle.

In Briscoe’s case, the nature and extent of the injuries led Allan and prosecutors to conclude that all the injuries were the result of primary, secondary, and tertiary impacts. Briscoe was hit by one vehicle and ran over by another, she surmised. That particular piece of testimony is key to the prosecution’s case since it supports their contention that there were two vehicles involved in the accident instead of one.

Taylor’s co-defendant, Darren Bullock, has owned up to being in one of the vehicles. But J. Wyndal Gordon, Taylor’s attorney, denies that he was in the other. Taylor just happened by an accident involving Bullock, the lawyer said in an earlier claim.

Prosecutors are hoping Allan’s testimony disproves that theory, however.

In addition to Briscoe, Otis Ray Williams and William Gaines, two other victims, were also run over by a second vehicle, Allan said.

On Feb. 16, 2008, at about 3 a.m., Taylor and Bullock, 22, also of Waldorf, allegedly crashed into a large crowd that had gathered on Indian Head Highway in Accokeek to watch illegal street races. It is believed that the two men were engaged in an illegal race of their own when the accident occurred, killing eight.

Bullock pleaded guilty to eight counts of vehicular manslaughter on Jan. 29 and will serve 15 years in prison.

Taylor also faces eight counts of vehicular manslaughter in addition to two lesser traffic offenses. If convicted, Taylor faces up to 80 years in prison.