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Jury to get case of street racing deaths

A Prince George's County jury will begin deliberations Friday afternoon in the case of a man accused of participating in an illegal street race that led to the deaths of eight people in a crash in Accokeek a little more than two years ago.

Prosecutors and a defense attorney took more than four hours Friday to deliver their closing arguments in the case of Tavon Taylor, 20. Taylor, of Waldorf, is charged with eight counts of vehicular manslaughter and other offenses.

He is charged in connection with a crash that occurred on Indian Head Highway shortly before 3 a.m. on Feb. 16, 2008. Prosecutors allege Taylor, of Waldorf, was racing Darren J. Bullock, 22, also of Waldorf, when the racers smashed into a group of people who had wandered onto the road watching a separate illegal street race.

At the outset of the trial, which began the first week of this month, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey told jurors that even though authorities did not allege Taylor's car hit any of the victims, he shares responsibility with Bullock because he participated in the race.

Friday, Ivey said in his closing argument that trial evidence showed that Taylor actually did hit two of the victims. Ivey said surveillance video from a nearby gun shop showed Taylor, in a green Mercury Grand Marquis, racing Bullock, who was in a white Chevy Caprice, moments before the crash.

The two were traveling at 102 mph, Ivey said. Witnesses said the impact of speeding metal on the victims sounded like popcorn popping, Ivey said. "People talking about body parts flying around, severed legs on the street, a man who bled out," he

In his closing argument, defense attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said a confession that Taylor signed was fabricated and coerced by police. Gordon said the images from the gun shop are unreliable. He also questioned testimony from a state expert who explained how the images could be used to calculate speed and distance.

Taylor "was taken advantage of, he was targeted" by police, Gordon said. Taylor did not testify in his own defense.

Last month, Bullock pleaded guilty to eight counts of vehicular manslaughter. Bullock's plea deal, which calls for a sentence of 15 years in prison, did not require him to testify against Taylor. Bullock is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.

-- Ruben Castaneda

By Washington Post editors  |  February 26, 2010; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda  
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Nothing but the creme de la creme watch car races on the highway at 3am.

Posted by: uncivil | February 26, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Chevy Caprice?
No way, I saw the pics. It was a white Ford Crown Victoria.

Somebody needs to get their facts straight and do a little research.

Posted by: Etek | February 27, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

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