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Roger Burdette’s sobriety questioned in murder trial after fatal LMPD crash

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 9:26 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the first time, jurors heard from the passengers of the other vehicles involved in the crash that killed a Louisville Metro Police Department detective on Christmas Eve 2018. This was during the second day of trial in the wanton murder case against the Metro Sewer District driver who slammed into the detective’s car, Roger Burdette.

“My car was sliding against the guard rail and her car was on the side of my truck,” Quentin Brady, the driver of the pickup truck Det. Deidre Mengedoht had stopped for speeding, told jurors.

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He described being in his truck with his girlfriend, her sister, and his 4-year-old daughter. Brady told jurors he remembered looking in the rearview mirror, concerned someone would hit them from behind because the spot he pulled over to wasn’t safe, he said.

He said things happened so quickly, he barely understood what had just happened.

“My girlfriend didn’t know what happened, and she asked what happened, and I said, ‘A semi hit us,’” Brady said.

“I remember sliding against the concrete wall and the cop car was spinning around in flames, and kept blowing up, I guess,” Jasmin Parks, Brady girlfriend testified.

Another man driving by said he remembered seeing Burdette pacing along the interstate after the crash.

“I am getting upset,” Jeff Stopp said. “It brings back bad memories, because he had stated — he had his hands on his head — I said, ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘There’s a body in the car. There’s a police officer in the car.’ And for me, especially when I approached the vehicle, it changed the dynamic of the situation. It wasn’t just a car on fire, there was someone in the car.”

Stopp recalled seeing the smoke and the fire and hearing the explosions.

“I really did try to... to try to save her,” he said.

For the majority of the trial Wednesday, Burdette’s sobriety test was questioned. Prosecutors confirmed no alcohol was found in his system, though his speech appeared slower than normal after the crash.

“I had reason to believe that he had taken some sort of narcotic based on the constriction of the pupils and his demeanor at the scene of being extremely nonchalant and relaxed and saw no emotion from him the entire time,” LMPD Sgt. Mike Johnson said.

Johnson said he was called in to conduct Burdette’s sobriety test because of his specialized training. The call-in was the reason he was wearing plain clothes and did not have his body camera with him.

Parts of the sobriety test were captured by the media, which attorneys played during the hearing.

Johnson said Burdette’s eyes couldn’t follow his finger without jerking and that he’d put his foot down 12 times while trying to walk in a line.

“He kept his foot six inches off the ground, and he did not count out loud as instructed,” Johnson said.

The trial is expected to continue Thursday when jurors will be allowed to look at the vehicles involved in the crash.

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