Three charged in scooter rider’s death get probation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Three Rowan County people accepted a plea agreement and were sentenced to probation Tuesday in the 2006 death of a scooter rider.
Patsy Morgan, Rachel Miller and Derek Talbert were all passengers in a vehicle whose occupants threw eggs at Michael Jason Brown early on the morning of May 12, 2006.
The Tuesday morning hearing came two months after three others ó Brandon Lowery, Eric Taylor and Alstin Vanderford ó pleaded guilty to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident, a felony.
Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly said had there been a trial, Morgan, Miller and Talbert agreed to testify about that night in exchange for the dismissal or reduction of the original involuntary manslaughter charges against them.
All six were in a sport utility vehicle driven by Eric Taylor when they decided to egg houses. They eventually turned their attention to Brown, who was riding a scooter on U.S. 52.
An initial investigation concluded that Brown was involved in a single-vehicle accident. His body was later exhumed for an autopsy.
The SUV and the scooter approached each other from the opposite direction, and at some point, the scooter rider tried to brake and was thrown from the scooter. The group stopped briefly, then drove away.
The six agreed not to say anything.
Morgan, Miller and Talbert each received a sentence of 45 days in jail, but a judge suspended those sentences while they serve 30 months of unsupervised probation apiece.
They must all pay restitution to cover the family’s funeral and medical expenses, as well as exhumation costs. They’ll each have to complete 100 hours of community service and write an apology letter to Brown’s mother.
Brown’s mother, Elizabeth Brown, and grandmother, Betty Brown, spoke about how this event has changed the lives of Michael’s three children.
All three apologized to the Brown family.
Before accepting the agreement, visiting Superior Court Judge Susan Taylor expressed her sorrow to the Brown family.
See Wednesday’s Post and for more details.