Driver was 'impaired' by drugs, meth before crash that killed friend
A White City man accused of killing a friend in a car crash last year spent that night downing shots and snorting methamphetamine, according to court testimony.
Christopher Wayne Evans, 26, stands trial this week in the death of 23-year-old Jenny Ilene Lockhart. Evans faces more than six years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter. He also was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Lockhart died the morning of Dec. — while riding with Evans in his friend's sports car near Central Point. The white Nissan 300 ZX careened through a stop sign at the intersection of Wilson and Table Rock Roads, jumped off the road, and slammed into a ditch, police said. Heavy fog blanketed the street, which is not illuminated, witnesses said.
Mr. Evans was impaired. He was driving on a foggy road; he was going too fast, said Tim Barnack, deputy district attorney for Jackson County.
— Medical examiners pronounced Lockhart dead at the scene. Evans was hospitalized with cuts and bruises. Both were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash ' around 3:30 a.m.
Evans had been drinking about two hours before the accident at Kat Wok, an Ashland bar, with 27-year-old Scott Gardner, Lockhart's roommate. Employed as a bouncer for local bars, Evans drank two shots of Jagermeister and Jagermeister mixed with a Red Bull energy tonic, Gardner said.
As the two were leaving Ashland, they stopped at the Exxon station near the Valley View interchange of Interstate 5 and each snorted a line of meth, Gardner said.
Once they reached Lockhart's Pine Street residence in Central Point, the two shot a few games of pool before Gardner went to bed. Lockhart ' who had spent the night partying at the Medford nightclub Ground Zero ' decided to go with Evans to a party in White City, witnesses said.
Lab tests performed at Rogue Valley Medical Center after the crash showed that Evans had used meth, and his blood-alcohol level was over Oregon's legal limit of .08 percent, according to court testimony. Paramedics said they smelled alcohol when treating Evans.
Although questioned several times by police, Gardner never mentioned the drug use until about a month ago and even lied when asked if Evans used drugs, fearing that he may face criminal charges, he said.
I struggled with that since the day Jenny died, he said. I figured Jenny would want that known.
Evans' defense attorney, Lisa Greif, attempted to cast doubt on whether Evans had used drugs before the crash as Gardner admitted that he didn't remember every detail of the night's events and was, himself, very intoxicated.
This is a terrible accident, Greif said. But that's what it is ' an accident.
The trial is scheduled to continue through Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court.