It's a story FOX10 News has been following for five months.

Important new developments in the case of a 16-year-old charged with manslaughter in the death of a young mother in a traffic accident. FOX10 News was only the only news station at a court hearing Wednesday when Wilkinson Howes appeared for a preliminary hearing.

Howes is charged with manslaughter after police say he crashed into Claudia Leatherwood's car as she was pulling out of a driveway in November, killing her and injuring her two children.

A Mobile Police corporal testified that, at one point, Howes was going over 90 miles per hour.

Howes is out on bond and appeared in court with his family.

Mobile Police Corporal Jonathan Mixon testified that Howes hit Leatherwood's car at a high rate of speed while she was pulling out of a driveway at her parent's home on Lloyds Lane with her two children inside.

He testified the data recorder in Howes car showed that, in the final five seconds before the crash, the maximum speed was 92 miles per hour.

Assistant District Attorney Keith Blackwood said, "The deceased victim's mother witnessed the crash, which is just horrific. The family is broken from this. It's just a horrific tragedy."

Leatherwood was killed.

Family members say her nine-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son were both hurt, with nine-year-old Brooke suffering a lacerated spleen and kidney and broken ribs, among other injuries. But Mixon also testified blood tests on Howes showed no drugs or alcohol, and that Howes was not using his cell phone at the time.

Howes attorney Dennis Knizley said, "It is simply a matter of a tragic accident where they contend that 'Wilks' had excessive speed. That's yet to be determined. As you heard, they have not completed a traffic accident report and, although there has been some information from a data recorder, that's not necessarily conclusive."

Judge George Hardesty ruled there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury. Several months ago, FOX10 News interviewed Leatherwood's parents, who said reminders of the accident are all around their home.

Leatherwood's father, Gary Becton, said, "Every time we walk out the door and come in the door. Every time I work in the yard and I rake the yard, I can still smell the rubber. The detectives, all of their investigative marks are still there. They haven't washed away yet."

Leatherwood's mother said, "She waved 'bye' and blew me a kiss and saying, 'See you tomorrow.' "

If found guilty of manslaughter, Howes could face two to 20 years in prison.

All content © 2018, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

Locations

Recommended for you