Saturday, January 26, 2008

At least five witnesses lined up against representative charged with leaving the scene of an accident

Five passengers in the pickup truck driven by Rep. Brad Robinson, D-Bonne Terre during a Jan. 1 hit-and-run accident have received immunity in exchange for their testimony against Robinson and his wife, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:

The state representative charged Thursday with a felony for allegedly driving away after hitting a man with his pickup has no plans to resign, his attorney said.

Surveillance video that allegedly shows state Rep. Brad Robinson, D-Bonne Terre, and his wife, Tara, switching seats in the truck shortly after the accident in the early hours of New Year's Day led to charges against the couple.

Brad Robinson, 44, is charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Tara Robinson, 37, was charged with misdemeanor making a false declaration.

James Carmichael, the St. Charles attorney representing the Robinsons, said Brad Robinson is deeply concerned about how the felony charge against him will affect his political career but said his client has no plans to give up the job.

The victim is expected to fully recover. The article continues:

Police later learned that a video surveillance camera at North County High School recorded the Robinsons' pickup pulling into the parking lot shortly after Marler was struck. The video shows Brad Robinson getting out of the driver's side and switching positions with his wife, the probable cause statement said.

Other passengers in the truck were interviewed again Jan. 18. They all said that Brad Robinson had been driving, the probable cause statement said, and that Tara Robinson had told them "to tell the police that she was driving and not Brad."

Jack Banas, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, said seven people were in the Robinsons' truck at the time of the accident — the Robinsons, two other couples and the son of one of the couples. The others in the vehicle weren't charged and were granted immunity from prosecution by Banas in return for their testimony. Banas would not identify the other couples.

"The law requires you to stop and give your name," said Banas, of St. Charles County. "The evidence clearly indicates that the initial statements were false statements."

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