Family hears graphic testimony on loved one's death

By Phil Pendleton  | 

A reminder of the life that was lost along a busy stretch of southern Kentucky interstate. A cross in honor of Howard White is set up on a guardrail where the 49-year-old man was killed near Corbin in Laurel County.

“He had his lights and stuff on….he was in the emergency lane….no reason for this to happen,” said Linda Poole outside the Laurel District Courtroom Tuesday, where the preliminary hearing for the suspect was held.

Linda Poole says her brother was on his way back home after picking up a friend’s truck in Tennessee, when he stepped outside to check on the load. Austin Meredith was driving a box truck that police say collided with White and killed him instantly. Meredith was charged with DUI and murder, and on Tuesday police laid out the charges against him, including a graphic account of White’s injuries.

“He had an amputated right arm, amputated left leg, and he was decapitated,” Sgt. Greg Reams told the county attorney.

“He killed my brother senselessly. He was out doing his job. Driving his tow truck. Like any driver does,” said Poole.

But attorneys for Austin Meredith called several witnesses to the stand to back up their claim that Meredith was not unsteady on his feet, his speech was not slurred, and that he did whatever police asked of him.

In fact private investigator Tom Ham even testified of Meredith getting pulled over by Tennessee police about an hour before the Kentucky crash, and he wasn’t cited for drunk driving.

Kentucky State Police say Meredith’s truck cab smelled of alcohol. Lab tests are still pending. White’s sister maintains the crime was clearly murder.

“We go out here drunk or on drugs, and we get under the wheel. It’s the same thing as walking on the street with a loaded gun, and for it to go off and kill someone right there,” said Poole.

Meredith’s court hearing was continued until September, because his attorneys are waiting on more testimony. Until then he’ll stay in jail on $100,000 cash bond.

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