3:30 p.m. update: The second day of the murder trial of Colby Williamson ended Wednesday on an emotional note, with testimony from the mother of Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley, who at times cried and yelled while she testified.
Barbara Kelley said she was at work at the Texas Department of Public Safety the day her son died. She said she was eating lunch when she received a text message from her husband that said, “Come home. Our son was killed this morning. If you can’t drive I will come get you.”
Kelley said she started screaming when she read the message and a director from work drove her to Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock. “We walked into this little room,” she said. “My family was there. … Chris was there laying on a gurney. It was the most unimaginable horror you could ever see.”
She said she could see a bloody towel stuck behind Kelley’s head and his “beautiful face.”
Assistant District Attorney Danny Smith then told Barbara Kelley he was going to show her a picture of her son from an exhibit of Chris Kelly’s autopsy shown earlier in the day.
“Is this Christopher?” Smith asked Barbara Kelley. “Yes,” she screamed.
3 p.m. update: Defense lawyer Joe James Sawyer challenged the testimony of Travis County Deputy Medical Examiner Kendall Crowns on Wednesday afternoon by asking if Crowns thought it was possible a car ran over Kelley’s head, “even though an eyewitness says he never saw his (Kelley’s) entire body go under the car.”
Crowns answered by saying Kelley’s head injuries “didn’t fit with a short fall from a door.”
Crowns also said the skull fractures that Kelley received were more consistent with a fall from 30 to 40 feet.
Sawyer also asked Crowns if a wedge-shaped abrasion on Kelley’s forehead could have come from being hit with the corner of a driver’s door. “I’m not sure,” Crowns said. “You would have to show me what the driver’s side door looked like.”
12:05 p.m. update: Travis County Deputy Medical Examiner Kendall Crowns testified Wednesday morning that Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley could probably only have survived for seconds after he was run over by a car.
Kelley would have died quickly because of the fractures he received to his skull and the injuries to his brain, Crowns said.
One of the skull fractures Kelley received went from one side of his head to the other, he said. That type of fracture, called a hinge fracture, is associated with high-speed car crashes or a fall from a great height, he said.
“These are very severe fractures that no one survives,” Crowns said.
One of the prosecutors, Danny Smith, asked him if the skull fractures were consistent with the injuries a person would receive from being run over by a car. “Yes,” Crowns said.
He said Kelley would not have received the type of skull fractures just by falling from a standing position and hitting his head on the ground.
Defense attorney Joe James Sawyer said in opening statements Tuesday that Kelley received the fractures from hitting the pavement and not from being run over by a car. He said Kelley’s nose would have been broken if his head had been run over by a car.
A police lieutenant choked back tears as he testified Wednesday morning about trying to save the life of Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley, who was laying in the road after being hit by his own patrol car.
Lt. Dwain Jones said he drove up to the scene on Decker Drive on June 24, 2015, where Hutto Police Sgt. Paul Leal was doing compressions on Kelley’s back. Since Kelley had blood in his mouth, Jones said, Leal had turned him over.
“There was a lot of blood,” Jones said. I thought he (Kelley) was lost,” said Jones. “I tried a few back compressions myself but I knew he had passed away.”
Jones was testifying during the second day of the trial of Colby Williamson, who is accused of running over and killing Kelley with the officer’s patrol car. Williamson, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted.
A video from Jones’ patrol car shown in court showed Jones arriving on Decker Drive near Wren Cove where Leal was doing chest compressions on Kelley. “Holy shit,” yelled Jones in the video as he got out of his car and started running toward the men.
The video then showed Leal and Jones bent over Kelley. Leal kept yelling “C’mon Kelley, c’mon Kelley, fight Kelley,” as both of the officers did chest compressions in the video.
Williamson County paramedic Justin Hurzeler testified Wednesday that he knew Kelley had suffered a severe injury because of the blood underneath Kelley’s head and the blood coming from his nose and ears.
“Based on the nature of bleeding from his nose and ears, I assumed he had sustained a severe skull fracture,” he said. Hurzeler said paramedics often don’t perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on people whose heart had stopped after a traumatic injury because there is less than a 3 percent chance of survival.
But paramedics at the scene did perform CPR, he said. “It was out of respect for Sgt. Kelley and his colleagues that we proceeded with every measure possible,” he said.
While paramedics were taking Kelley to the hospital, they put a tube down his throat to help him breathe and put him on a machine to do chest compressions but the officer never regained his breath or heartbeat.
Hurzeler estimated that Kelley had lost about one-third of his blood by the time the ambulance arrived at Seton Williamson Medical Center in Round Rock.