JPD: Howard had cocaine in system before deadly wreck - - The News for South Mississippi

JPD: Driver that hit AMR worker had cocaine in his system

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The man accused of killing a man and injuring an AMR Paramedic appeared in court Tuesday morning. We're learning more about the drugs found in 44-year-old Robert Howard Jr.'s system the night of the accident.

During a hearing in front of Hinds Circuit Judge Houston Patton, a Jackson Police accident investigator testified that Howard went to Baptist Hospital the night of July 31, after the deadly wreck. He was complaining of pain from the accident. Blood was drawn and sent to the crime lab. It showed he had a blood alcohol level of .02, as well as cocaine, hydrocodone, and a sleeping medication in is system, according to JPD.

Earlier that night, police say, Howard was driving a Nissan truck when he crashed into Jessie Thomas and Jennifer Hesselbein at Bullard Street and Gymnasium Drive in Jackson. Hesselbein and EMT Jonathan Blackwell had been driving by in an ambulance and stopped to help 71-year-old Jessie Thomas, who had just been hit by a red Chevy Impala. The Impala had been driven by Jacqueline Watkins, according to police. Thomas had suffered a broken arm in the wreck.

As Hesselbein tended to Thomas, a Nissan truck driven by Howard collided with them, according to court room testimony.  Thomas was killed in the second crash, and Hesselbein sustained serious injuries. Her condition has been upgraded to fair at UMC.

An investigator testified that Howard was not cooperative with the investigation the night of the accident, and would not provide a statement. Howard's whereabouts before the accident are unknown.

Howard's public defender attempted to secure house arrest for Howard, who suffers from kidney and liver disease, high blood pressure, and seizures. He is also diabetic. He takes dialysis three days per week.  Judge Patton decided Howard would continue to be held in jail with no bond, and bound the case over to a Grand Jury. 

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