Third witness recalls Josh Brent yelling for help



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Posted on December 13, 2012 at 12:23 AM

IRVING -- William Gray was on his way home from work early Saturday morning when, out of the corner of his eye, he caught Josh Brent's Mercedes flip over on the Highway 114 eastbound service road.

"911 kept me on the phone until that first officer arrived," he said.

Gray said he looked over to see the car slide to a stop after overturning, and Brent then emerge, holding his head.

"He was asking for help to get someone out of the car," Gray added.

Jerry Brown Jr., 25, was still inside the Mercedes as a fire started in the engine.

Gray, who was driving on the main lanes of Highway 114 and the first to call 911, pulled over on the highway but said he could not offer help because fenced-off DART tracks separated him from the scene by 40 feet.

"He's now yelling quite a bit [saying,] 'I need help to get my friend out of the car.' I think his exact words were, 'Help, I need to get someone out of the car,'" Gray continued. "I'm even saying to the 911 operator, 'This guy is yelling for help to get someone out of his car, because his car is on fire.'"

Two other witnesses, Pam Johnson and Stacee McWilliams, pulled up separately on the service road more than 90 seconds later and 60 feet back, he said.

In interviews with News 8, Johnson and McWilliams said Brent told them his friend would not get out of the car. McWilliams said she had to beg Brent to extricate Brown from the burning vehicle. Johnson said she heard McWilliams ask, but never command, Brent to do so.

But Gray said he could not hear whether they ever communicated with him.

Gray detailed what he witnessed from the Dallas Cowboys player in a two-page affidavit for Irving police.

"He finally bends down -- literally gets all the way down on the ground, reaches into the car. I don't know what he's doing until I see him bring the passenger out," Gray explained. "He tried to talk to his friend, shakes him a couple times, slaps him a couple times on the side of his face, just to see if maybe he's unconscious."

Brown was later pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital.

Police said Brent had been drinking before the wreck and charged him with Intoxication Manslaughter.

"[The witnesses'] testimony can matter in one way or another, so yes, it's all important," said Barry Sorrels, a Dallas defense attorney.

Sorrels, who is not involved in this case, said witness statements are important because they could reveal Brent's character in court.

"How you react even after an accident can be a demonstration of who you are," Sorrels said. "Are you a good guy or a bad guy? Are you courageous or are you a coward?"

Three witnesses have now shared varying accounts of what they saw Brent do in the moments after the wreck.

"Doesn't matter that he's a football player -- I saw a person who wanted help to get someone out of the car," Gray said. "I wish I could have done more."

Irving police say investigators plan to meet with the Dallas County District Attorney's office to review the case on Thursday.

Brent is currently free on $500,000 bond.

Brown will be buried in his hometown of St. Louis on Saturday.