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Deputy, suspect testify about escape before motorcyclist killed

NEW PORT RICHEY - Seated on the witness stand Tuesday, asked to identify the woman accused of speeding away with the deputy dangling from the woman's truck window, Pasco County Deputy Ashley Grady pointed at the defendant, seated across the courtroom. "Brittany Miles," Grady said, staring at Miles, 22, who also is accused of striking and killing a motorcyclist after Grady tumbled onto the roadway. "She's wearing a pink blouse." Miles, a one-time exotic dancer, is charged with attempted felony murder, escape, fleeing to elude and driving under the influence. At the conclusion of the ongoing Pasco trial, Miles will face a trial in Hernando County in the death of the motorcyclist, Henry McCain, 67. Miles was stopped on the morning of May 10, 2011, and arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. Seated in the back of a sheriff's cruiser, authorities say, Miles managed to wiggle her right wrist out of handcuffs and escape, bolting to her red Dodge Ram pickup.
Grady reached through the truck's window while standing on the running board. As the truck sped off the deputy was tossed from the vehicle, her body landing on southbound U.S. 19. Grady had assorted injuries, including a cut on the back of her head, a concussion and broken left tibia, and cuts to her arms from rolling on the pavement. Grady, a Pasco deputy since June 2010, testified Miles had failed a series of sobriety tests in the parking lot of a Hudson business before she broke lose from the sheriff's cruiser and ran to the pickup. "I was pushed out of the truck and with the speeds we were going, I was no longer able to hang on," Grady told jurors Tuesday at the West Pasco Judicial Center. Miles took the witness stand later Tuesday. Her face red and with tears in her eyes, she told the jury she could not recall most of what took place that day, but she knows she did not push Grady off the pickup. Miles, prescribed Oxycodone for a back injury two years earlier, acknowledged she was driving under the influence and had swallowed about eight Xanax pills in an attempt to conceal them from deputies. By the time she escaped, Miles testified, she was feeling effects of the medication. "As I was driving off, I didn't realize that deputy Grady … jumped onto the side of the truck as I was pulling away," Miles said. "I was losing control of the truck and as I was trying to regain control of the truck, she was gone. She was there and then she wasn't there. I didn't realize she had gotten hurt." Timothy Moore, a mechanic with the Pasco Sheriff's Office, was at the scene to impound Miles' truck. He told the court Miles, after escaping, launched out of the business' parking lot. He said Miles sped off so erratically, the truck went over a drainage ditch and tipped onto the two passenger-side wheels, nearly hitting a pole. The truck crossed northbound lanes and went over a median into southbound lanes. That's where Grady fell off of the pickup. Moore said he ran over to help. Deputies Tom Smith and Chris Greifenberger testified Miles reached speeds of 100 mph during a subsequent chase, which went north into Hernando County. Greifenberger said Miles sped through the intersection of U.S. 19 and County Line Road at about 70 mph, slamming into McCain's motorcycle. When a prosecutor asked questions about the crash that killed McCain, Miles broke down on the witness stand. "Do you recall going though the intersection at County Line Road? Going through the red light?" assistant state attorney Brian Sarabia asked the defendant. Crying, Miles put her right hand to her face: "Yes," she said. The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today with closing arguments to the jury in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Michael Andrews.

edaniels@tampatrib.com (813) 371-1860 Twitter: @EDanielsTrib

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