By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Charges against Robert Andrew Philyaw for leaving the scene of an accident were dropped on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005, by order of Judge Dave Jordan, Escambia County District Judge, after a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.
Philyaw was charged with leaving the scene of an accident following the death of his wife, Jeri A Philyaw, 41, when at least one vehicle, and maybe more, ran over her in the northbound lane of Hwy. 31 south of the Diamond Station.
The state had to show probable cause for holding Philyaw over for the Grand Jury at the preliminary hearing on Tuesday. Philyaw's attorney, Jamie Halford, asked for a dismissal during the hearing claiming there was no evidence that his client was ever at the scene of an accident.
Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin appeared at the hearing and said that witnesses had seen Philyaw and his wife leave the American Legion Hall between 2 and 3 a.m. in a white van and Mrs. Philyaw had allegedly seemed unhappy with her husband's behavior on the dance floor.
Other witnesses told the police that they saw a small dark colored vehicle run over Mrs. Philyaw and then leave the scene of the accident. Police are still looking for that vehicle. According to Chief McGougin, Philyaw returned to the scene, driving a Ford pickup truck, and became uncooperative. At that point, he was arrested for public intoxication and that charge still stands.
Chief McGougin said that autopsy results showed that Mrs. Philyaw had not been standing up when the vehicle ran over her and she had road burns that suggested being ejected from a moving vehicle.
Halford pointed out that there was no proof that his client was anywhere near the scene when his wife died and no one could place the two together at the time.
The charges could still go before the Grand Jury if the state decides the evidence should warrant. In the meantime, the investigation continues.