Woman who dragged Colorado Springs tow truck driver to death will not get new trial

Detra Farries at a previous court hearing. Photo by The Gazette file

A tow-truck driver who ran after a woman’s fleeing SUV came close enough to tap on her window when he caught up to her, an eyewitness said Wednesday as Detra Farries’ dragging-death trial continued.

After describing how Allen Lew Rose threw a tow hook onto Farries’ vehicle, Donald “Doc” Hearn told a jury that he shouted warnings as Rose, on foot, caught up with her as she drove away.

“I said ‘Hey, man, watch that cable!’” Hearn told the jury.

Moments later, Rose, 35, was being dragged out of sight – snagged by a cable that trailed the SUV after it came off his tow-truck’s winch. Rose, co-owner of J & J Towing, died after coming loose 1.5 miles later. Farries, 33, faces up to 24 years in prison on the most serious of three felonies on which she is being tried.

Prosecutors won a judge’s approval to seek an aggravated sentence should Farries be convicted, doubling potential penalties.

Hearn, a mechanic who was working on Farries’ daughter’s car that morning, grew silent during his testimony and was ultimately taken out of the courtroom on a stretcher. A judge said he will return when his health allows. The jury was dismissed when Hearn requested a break and wasn’t present to see him wheeled out.

Hearn said he is in frail health after an August stabbing.

During his testimony, Hearn affirmed an account his nephew gave Tuesday about how Rose threw hooks onto Farries’ illegally parked vehicle with an underhand toss like a bowler’s.

“I don’t know how he did that,” Hearn said. “He must have been doing that a long time.”

As Rose neared the vehicle, Farries had just begun to pull away, his nephew told the jury.

Rose ran a different route and caught up with her at the complex’s exit on North Murray Boulevard — where the loose cable trailing the SUV wrapped around at least one of his ankles, causing him to be dragged, Hearn said.

Hearn said of the moment Rose was snared and dragged away: “It happened so fast I couldn’t put a time to it.”

Hearn initially told police: “I don’t know if he was trying to step out of the way of the cable or trying to step on it.” But Hearn said on the stand that he later decided Rose was trying to get out of the way. He stuck by that version Wednesday.

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After the dragging, Hearn picked up a knife and glove from Murray Boulevard just outside the complex exit, believing them to be the tow-truck driver’s, he said. Defense attorneys have said Rose was chasing her with a knife.

“I don’t know her and I don’t know the tow-truck driver,” Hearn told the jury. “All I came here to do is tell the truth.”

Other witnesses called during the fourth day of testimony recalled haunting details of Rose’s ordeal — and how Farries ran a stop sign, fast, as she drove along a frontage road that runs parallel to Platte Avenue.

Angelika Knoebl was making a delivery to a Walgreen’s when she saw the SUV round a corner so fast that it looked like it could have tipped over.

Then came Rose, hitting a curb and sliding onto a grassy area.

“He was looking at me and his pants were shaved off and his leg was bloody,” Knoebl said, growing emotional moments into her testimony.

Others estimated the vehicle was traveling 35 to 40 mph – and that Rose’s screams could be heard over traffic noises.

While questioning Farries’ cousin, Bruce Knight, lead prosecutor Jeff Lindsey asked Knight to explain a text message he sent Farries later the day of the incident.

The message encouraged Farries to text him “so we can know what to do and say,” according to a copy that was read into the record.

Knight lived at Hill Park Apartments at the time, and said Farries had been staying with him for a few days while on her way to Texas.

After Knight explained that he sent the text because he hadn’t heard from Farries and was growing worried, Lindsey pointed out that the message was sent at 6:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time – six hours earlier than cellphone records would suggest. Knight didn’t mention the discrepancy when a defense attorney pointed out the late hour.

It didn’t come out in court whether Farries returned the message. Colorado Springs police have said she was arrested shortly after Rose came loose.

Prosecutors blame Rose’s death on Farries’ recklessness — both in her driving and her decision to flee the towing. Her public defenders say Rose put himself in danger, and that Farries didn’t know he was being dragged behind her. Her SUV ran loud, had broken mirrors and was “filled to the brim” with the family’s belongings, they say.

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