BELTON — The trial of a 50-year-old retired soldier accused of killing a motorcyclist in 2010 while driving drunk in Killeen began Monday.
Former Killeen resident Eugene Kelly Wolfenberger could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of intoxication manslaughter. Wolfenberger is accused of killing 47-year-old William Allen Reed on Aug. 11, 2010.
Reed’s wife, Rosa Reed, gave emotional testimony Monday, choking back tears as she recounted the events of the night her husband died.
Her husband had been excited to tell his pastor about a house he believed they may want to move into, so he took his Suzuki motorcycle up Westcliff Road to pay a visit.
Rosa Reed received word from her pastor that her husband was involved in an accident on his way back.
She jumped into her car and drove “really, really fast” toward her pastor’s home. When Rosa Reed came over a hill, she saw a road bathed in the lights of emergency response vehicles.
“I was shouting ‘that’s my husband, that’s my husband,”’ Rosa Reed testified. “The police stopped me and said ‘you can’t get closer; he’s got a bad head injury.”’
He was pronounced dead a few hours after the collision.
Wolfenberger previously pleaded guilty to charges in a deal with prosecutors for a sentenced capped at 12 years. However, presiding Judge Martha Trudo rescinded Wolfenberger’s plea after being presented with evidence disputing his reported confession to the trial.
Court documents stated Wolfenberger told an officer “I did the bad deed,” when first confronted by police on the night of Reed’s death.
Wolfenberger pleaded not guilty to charges Monday.
According to court documents, Wolfenberger was westbound on Westcliff Road when he allegedly collided with the rear end of a motorcycle driven by Reed near the road’s intersection with Beta Circle.
In opening statements, prosecutor Mike Waldman told the jury the collision caused Reed to be thrown from his motorcycle and against the windshield of Wolfenberger’s Toyota Camry. Through DNA lab tests, investigators later learned blood samples found on the windshied of Wolfenberger’s car matched Reed’s.
Police arrested Wolfenberger after his wife called 911 when she saw damage to her husband’s vehicle and his emotional state. He had been drinking heavily in the backyard, where his wife found him naked. Wolfenberger now lives in Harleton in northeast Texas.
Defense attorney Mike White told the jury that Wolfenberger’s diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from his multiple tours in Iraq led him to a fight-or-flight response when he sped off from the scene of the accident.
He then began drinking heavily in his backyard in order to calm himself, White said.
The trial continues at 9 a.m. today in the 264th District Courtroom.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.