What to Look for in John Goodman DUI Manslaughter Trial
Wellington polo mogul John Goodman goes on trial in a West Palm Beach courtroom tomorrow, charged with driving drunk and causing the car accident that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson in 2010.
It's been nearly two years since a New Times cover story dug deep into the case, so here's a refresher on some of the juiciest details that may emerge as key issues in the trial:
-- Goodman's alleged penchant for white powder. A bartender at the Players Club told sheriff's investigators there were times she had seen the polo mogul with "powder hanging out of his nose." His ex-wife, Carroll Goodman, accused him in court documents of abusing cocaine. And the night of the crash, another witness, Stacey Shore, said Goodman suggested they go get some cocaine. She refused. He left the bar without her. According to the Palm Beach Post, toxicology tests did not reveal cocaine in Goodman's blood after the crash.
-- The role of rescue workers in the crash. Scott Wilson was not immediately killed
by the impact of the crash. Instead, his Hyundai capsized in a canal.
When rescuers arrived, they felt around the driver's side but couldn't
find anyone in the dark waters. Only after they called a tow truck
to lift the wreck from the murky canal did the rescuers see Wilson's
pale face, still strapped in the driver's seat, his lungs filled with
silt. Two Palm Beach County fire captains were later disciplined for their handling of the emergency.
-- The barn drink defense. Goodman could try to argue that he got drunk after the crash, rather than before. After blowing through a stop sign and crashing into Wilson's Hyundai, the polo mogul walked to the barn of his employee and polo teammate Kris Kampsen.
The barn has an office, a TV, and a stocked bar. Goodman said he went to
the barn searching for Kampsen and a phone. He didn't find either.
However, weeks later, when the friends had dinner, Goodman asked Kampsen if he still had alcohol in the barn. It's possible Goodman was laying the groundwork to argue that he'd swiped a swig of something while he was in the barn. His blood wasn't tested for alcohol until three hours after the accident, when it was found to be 0.177 -- more than twice the legal limit.
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