Doctor recounts Megan Terrill's fatal injuries during testimony Tuesday

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CAON CITY -- Despite nearly eight hours of jury selection, the prosecution managed to put one witness on the stand Tuesday in the trial for a man accused of the hit-and-run death of a 16-year-old girl.

By 4 p.m., lawyers had chosen nine women and four men who will decide whether George Largent was responsible for an accident in the early morning of March 7 that left Megan Terrill unconscious in the 800 block of South First Street. She died from head injuries nine days after a newspaper carrier discovered her along the side of the road.

Largent is being charged with vehicular homicide while intoxicated, vehicular homicide while driving recklessly, criminally negligent homicide, careless driving causing death, leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with physical evidence.

The trial is expected to run through Friday.

Although both attorneys were given the opportunity for an opening statement, Largent's attorney, Darol Biddle, opted out.

Acting District Attorney Kathy Eberling said evidence and testimonies at the trial would answer three questions:

n Was the vehicle in the accident, the Chevrolet Tahoe, found on Largent's property on Oak Creek Grade Road?

n Which driver caused the accident?

n If Largent were the driver, was he intoxicated the night of the accident?

She said the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's reports about evidence on the vehicle and found at the scene, along with witness testimony, would reveal the vehicle was the one involved in the accident, Largent was the driver, and he was intoxicated.

Eberling called Dr. Dexter Koons, a neurosurgeon at St. Mary Corwin's Hospital in Pueblo and Terrill's physician during the nine days, as her first witness.

An expert witness who graduated medical school in 1966, Koons said Terrill was brought in with "primarily bruising of the brain," as well as a subdural hematoma, a massive blood clot trapped beneath the outermost membrane of the brain and spinal cord, which was removed during surgery.

Koons said that from the time the Craig girl came in March 7 until she died March 16, the efforts of the doctors "were to try and control her intercranial pressure," to allow blood to be pumped into the brain and reduce brain damage.

Despite taking many measures to reduce the swelling, the doctor said, including medications, a barbiturate-induced coma and a surgical procedure in which doctors "basically removed her skull," Terrill died from heart failure because of "stresses to her body."

Koons testified that in addition to her brain bruising, Terrill also had multiple skull fractures, a broken neck, a fractured femur and bruising of both lungs, as well as bruises and contusions along her body.

Pictures distributed to the jury showed evidence of blood coming from Terrill's ear, a sign of head injury, as well as photos of bruising and abrasions on her back and foot and her left leg with "external fixators" to maintain alignment of the fragments of her broken femur, Koons said. The seven photos were entered as evidence into the case.

The Pueblo physician also analyzed two toxicology reports entered into evidence by Eberling and one by Biddle.

Eberling's reports showed Terrill had a blood alcohol content of 0.088, according to testimony, and contained tricyclics, used in antidepressants.

Biddle's cross-examination revealed that the blood sample was taken at 5:40 a.m., at least two hours after Terrill's body was located, and thus her blood alcohol content "would have been somewhat higher at 3 a.m.," Biddle said.

The toxicology report he presented showed how much of the tricyclics was in Terrill's blood. The count was unusually high.

Biddle called the mixture of alcohol and antidepressants "somewhat dangerous," and Koons agreed with Biddle's statement that the combination of the two could cause "unusual behavior."

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