The manslaughter case against Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent will likely require several more days of investigation by suburban Dallas police, authorities said Thursday.
Brent is free on bond after the Saturday morning accident that killed practice squad player Jerry Brown. Police from Irving, who say Brent was driving drunk, met with prosecutors from the Dallas County district attorney’s office to discuss the case.
”They talked about the case and where we are in the investigation,” police spokesman John Argumaniz said in an email. ”They also discussed things the DA would need to file the case.”
Prosecutors hope to present a case to the grand jury this month, said Heath Harris, the first assistant Dallas County district attorney. He said a typical involuntary manslaughter case includes a reconstruction of the accident scene and an examination of restaurant or bar receipts.
Irving police said they were also still waiting on results from a blood-alcohol test for Brent. Harris said he expected a few more weeks of investigation before prosecutors get the case.
An intoxication manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but a defendant with no prior felony convictions in any state is eligible for probation, Harris said. Brent pleaded guilty three years ago to driving under the influence – a misdemeanor – while he was playing at Illinois. In the Illinois case, Brent was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years of probation, according to court records.
A misdemeanor drunken-driving charge wouldn’t stop a defendant from getting probation on an intoxication manslaughter conviction, Harris said.
”We haven’t made any conclusions on this particular case, because we don’t have all the facts,” he said.
Brown’s parents and relatives have expressed support for Brent after the crash, and Brent’s attorney, George Milner, has said the two former college teammates at Illinois were extremely close. Asked how much those relationships would matter, Harris said the family’s wishes could be a factor in how prosecutors pursue the case, but not the only one.
”We’re not just looking at that victim’s family,” Harris said. ”We’re also looking to make sure we can speak for all the victims and potential victims here in Dallas County when we prosecute these cases.”
Also Thursday, police released tapes of two callers reporting an overturned vehicle Saturday morning. Both callers said smoke or fire appeared to be coming from the car. Police also released dash-cam video that shows the overturned vehicle at the crime scene. According to an arrest affidavit, officers who arrived found Brent pulling Brown from the wreck.
Brent was placed Wednesday on the reserve/non-football illness list by the Cowboys, which ends his season but keeps him on the team. He attended a memorial service for Brown earlier this week with teammates and Brown’s family.
Coach Jason Garrett has declined to talk about specifics of the accident.
”There’s going to be a lot of details that come out about exactly what happened and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to stand up here and address the different things,” Garrett said. ”Again, we continue to support Josh … in every way that we can and also at the same time help other people that are in a similar kind of situation.”