Monday, February 17, 2014

Man accused of DUI murder of 8-year-old after Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show dies Monday

Haylee Burks, killed after the air show 2012.

 Danny Ray Smith, 66, was charged with murder after the accident that killed Haylee Burks, 8, after the Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show nearly two years ago.

His attorneys confirmed Monday that Smith died Monday morning.

Smith was charged with driving under the influence last month after Northport Police officers noticed that he was driving erratically. A test, however, revealed that he had no alcohol in his system at the time.

His attorneys criticized Northport Police at a court hearing held in January, saying that officers should have taken Smith to a hospital instead of jail.

“This was mishandled,” said attorney Bob Prince. “When he blew a 0.0, the police should have at least considered assisting with medical treatment.”

The Northport officers charged him with driving under the influence after he acted confused and handed over his Social Security card instead of a driver's license.

Smith spent a night at the Tuscaloosa County Jail, Prince said, and was transported to DCH because his was disoriented and had not eaten.

He went into a coma shortly after being hospitalized, Prince said.

Doctors performed tests for a suspected infection but never confirmed a diagnosis, Prince said.

Prince has said the fatal accident was caused by a medical condition since Smith's 2012 arrest. He had hosted a party at Dixie Air Service during the air show. His blood alcohol tested at .13 after the accident, higher than the .08 legal limit.

Haylee's mother filed a wrongful death suit against Smith in 2012. He was also involved in a civil dispute with Dixie Air Service's insurance company concerning terms and conditions of the policy. Smith's death concludes the criminal case, but the civil actions will remain active.

Story and photo gallery:

Danny Ray Smith

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