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New attorney questions accuracy of speed reports in case against bus driver

Brenda Gray’s new attorney may decide to take her defense in a different direction.
During an Oct. 9 hearing, attorney Clifton L. “Cliff” Corker represented the former school bus driver who is facing numerous felony charges from the September 2012 crash that injured 39 David Crockett High School students.
“The state’s accident reconstruction is the biggest piece of evidence,” Corker said, noting the high rate of speed listed as a contributing cause in the crash.
Corker said he has requested a review of the reconstruction to ensure the findings are accurate.
“Speed is an important factor and could affect the defense,” he said. Corker said he has spoken with people who indicated the speed was a lot less.
Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp acknowledged the Gray case has been in his courtroom a long time.
“It bothers me, but it also bothers me that she took her retirement to pay Mr. LaGuardia’s fees,” he said. “I know it’s getting age on it, but I have to give (Corker) time to review.”
Michael LaGuardia, the attorney representing Gray, died unexpectedly prior to the July 8 hearing, during which he was scheduled to enter a plea and request sentencing.
According to Corker, Gray then approached him about taking her case on a pro bono basis. “We try to do that every now and again,” he said.
However, Corker said an attorney taking over a case for a client with no funds doesn’t usually accept the proposed strategy.
“We’re taking a step back to review all the evidence and determine the best resolution,” he said. “We’re making sure all the discovery out there is accurate and what she pleads to is correct.”
Cupp extended the plea deadline to Tuesday, Dec. 3. “We’re hoping to announce whether we agree (with the charges) or whether the case needs to be set for trial,” Corker said.
At the hearing, Cupp agreed all charges could be brought up at the same time if the case goes to trial.