RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - A 27-year-old accused of a deadly DUI crash has been granted bond. Jonathan Ewing Butler is accused of killing 61-year-old Vernon Faglier earlier this month on Washington Road.
Both families - of the victim and suspect - showed up in court.
One of the deputies that responded to the scene on the night of September 1, Richmond County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jason Williams with the traffic safety division, testified - saying Butler failed a field sobriety test the night of the crash.
Deputy Williams said Butler initially said he was a passenger of the BMW involved in the crash. Deputies searched, unsuccessfully, for hours trying to locate the driver before determining Butler was person behind the wheel, Williams testified.
Deputy Williams said factors that let him know Butler was driving were red airbag burn marks on his forearm and a diagonal seat belt mark, from left to right. He said Butler was "very unstable, unable to keep balance, had a strong odor of alcohol and just wasn't acting right" that night. So much so, Deputy Williams got EMS to evaluate Butler on scene.
Deputy Williams said Butler was unable to keep track of the stimulus during a Field Sobriety Test (FST) and refused to allow the deputy to draw blood in order to gather his blood alcohol level- so the deputy filed a warrant for it. Williams testified that at some point, Butler said, "just take me to jail."
That's when Deputy Williams said he took Butler into custody. Williams said Butler became irate at Augusta Medical University Hospital, and threw a receptacle with his urine in it - that was designated for a drug test - at hospital staff.
After hearing from the attorneys of both families, Judge H. Scott Allen expressed that his sympathies are with the Faglier family, however, there was no reason, under the law, to deny bond for Butler, saying, "I must follow the law."
Most of Faglier's family members rushed out of the room after Judge Allen announced he'd set bond.
The judge told Butler, "At the end of the day, your family still has you. Mr. Faglier's family does not have him."
Judge Allen set Butler's bond at $50,000 with the following conditions:
Obtain a SCRAM alcohol monitor within 12-hours of release
Suspect must reside with parents
No drugs or alcohol
Do not operate any motor vehicle
Observe 7PM - 7AM curfew unless work dictates
No contact with Faglier family