Before accident: beer, tequila

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Jesse Brooks, a friend of Ross Edward Neese, was the only witness Tuesday who saw Neese the evening of Dec. 8, 2006, prior to an accident that killed 8-year-old Patty Burgdoff.
The two men had been drinking together.
Brooks told jurors in Neese’s second-degree murder trial that he worked with Neese doing construction when Brooks lived in Kannapolis. Brooks now lives in Cleveland.
The day of the wreck was also Brooks’ last day on that job, and the two friends decided to celebrate.
Brooks estimated they left work around 3:30 p.m.
Brooks; his wife, Paula; friend David Fry; and Neese went to a Kannapolis pub for drinks.
When asked what they drank, Brooks said he believed the pub only sold beer.
When Paula Brooks became hungry, Jesse Brooks said they went to Los Arcos, a Mexican restaurant the couple frequented in Kannapolis.
Brooks said they all spent from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the two different establishments รณ drinking.
Fry went home, and Neese and the Brookses ate dinner together.
All three had more drinks. In his statement to police, Jesse Brooks told them his wife had a margarita, and he and Neese drank beer and shots of tequila.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren asked Brooks if he was impaired.
Brooks said no.
Van Buren then asked if Brooks thought Neese was impaired.
“He didn’t appear to be,” Brooks said.
All three left the restaurant together.
As Neese headed on U.S. 29, other motorists noted he was speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and nearly running other cars off the road.