By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A jury trial is set March 6 for a Yukon woman accused of driving drunk and causing the death of an Elk City teenager.
Cassandra Ann Bray, 41, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter and driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury in Canadian County District Court.
Bray was charged Feb. 22 in connection with a three-vehicle traffic collision Oct. 29, 2021, at State Highway 66 and Sara Road near the Kilpatrick Turnpike in Yukon.
Lacey Jo Martin, 16, was killed and several other people were injured in the crash.
The March jury trial is scheduled before Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse. A motions hearing will be Feb. 14 with call docket Feb. 21.
Assistant District Attorney Austin T. Murrey alleges Bray – “without a premeditated design to effect death” – caused the death of Lacey Jo Martin while the defendant was “unlawfully engaged in a misdemeanor” by driving a Ford Edge “while under the influence of alcohol” and/or “exceeding the lawful speed limit.”
Bray was driving “with a breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more that made the defendant incapable for safely driving a motor vehicle” when she caused the crash in which Tiffany Cook “suffered broken bones, damaged organs and other internal and external injuries”, according to charging documents.
The names of two other people have been stricken as victims in count two, according to court minutes.
Judge Hesse, at a Dec. 20th hearing, denied the defense’s motion to quash count two but ordered the two names be removed from the information.
Bray was arraigned on both felony charges before entering the not guilty pleas. She was advised of her right to a speedy trial.
The defendant appeared at the court hearing with attorneys John Hunsucker and Douglas Baxter, who had filed the motion to quash Oct. 21.
“During the preliminary hearing (Sept. 9), Tiffany Cook testified about her injuries; however, no testimony was given by Zoe Stovall or Shawn Edwards at all and no individual who testified during the preliminary hearing testified about either of those individuals suffering ‘broken bones, damaged organs and other internal and external injuries’,” according to the motion to quash.
“Since the State of Oklahoma offered testimony that Tiffany Cook suffered grave bodily injuries but failed to offer any evidence concerning the other two individuals, the appropriate alternate action would have been for the State of Oklahoma to strike/amend the information, as requested by counsel for the defendant.”
Prosecutors did not amend count two, but Judge Hesse ordered the two names stricken.
At the Sept. 9th preliminary hearing, Special Judge Khristan K. Strubhar found probable cause that Bray committed the crimes of first-degree manslaughter and DUI resulting in great bodily injury.
Judge Strubhar bound her over for trial after hearing sworn witness testimony, reviewing exhibits and hearing arguments from counsel.
First-degree manslaughter is punishable by not less than four years in prison.
DUI resulting in great bodily injury is punishable by four to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Lacey Jo Martin – a 10th grader at Epic Online School – was headed back home to Elk City after spending time with friends in Oklahoma City when the October 2021 traffic collision occurred on Yukon’s east side.
Oklahoma City Police investigated the crash, finding Bray was allegedly driving at excessive speeds while under the influence of alcohol.
Lacey was a back-seat passenger in a 2013 Chevy Cruze driven by Elk City’s Cook that was struck by Bray’s 2017 Ford Edge.
Bray was driving westbound in the inside lane of Hwy 66 at a “high rate of speed” while intoxicated, according to an Oklahoma City police report.
Bray failed to react to her “closing rate” on the westbound Chevy Cruze “until right before impact,” officer Jeffrey Hauck’s report indicates.
The Yukon woman tried to swerve right but the driver’s side front of her Ford Edge impacted with the Chevy Cruze’s passenger side rear.
The vehicle crossed the center median and entered the eastbound Hwy 66 inside lane where it collided with a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant driven by an Oklahoma City teen.
The Chevy Cruze flipped onto its driver’s side before coming to a rest, partially in the grass median and partially in the eastbound Hwy 66 inside lane.
Bray was arrested the scene for driving under the influence and a breath test showed her blood alcohol content was .12, She was booked into the Canadian County Jail for causing a DUI injury accident.
Bray posted bond and was released from custody before Lacey died from her injuries Nov. 10 after spending nearly two weeks in the intensive care unit at OU Medical Center
Cook, the driver of the Chevy Cruze, reportedly suffered six broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.
Two passengers in Cook’s vehicle and the driver and a passenger in the Mitsubishi Galant also were injured, according to the police report.
Lacey’s mother shared advice with anyone thinking about driving drunk.
“Call a friend. Call or taxi. Call an Uber,” Stacy Grizzell said. “There’s some way around this. It’s not worth that person’s life nor taking a loved one from a family.”