The Commissioner who issued a protective order against Kurt Busch stated in a Supplemental Disposition on Friday that a key element was the credibility of Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, compared to the driver himself.
Driscoll sought a protective order, alleging that Busch slammed her head against the wall in his motorhome three times last September at Dover International Speedway. That came shortly after the breakup of their four-year relationship. Driscoll had gone to the track to console Busch after a series of text messages that led Driscoll to be concerned about Busch.
Commissioner David W. Jones wrote in his conclusion that “it is more likely than not that on September 26, 2014, (Busch) committed an act of abuse against (Driscoll) by manually strangling (Driscoll) with his left hand on her throat while placing his right hand against her chin and face, causing her head to forcefully strike the interior wall of (Busch’s) motor home, thereby recklessly causing physical injury to (Driscoll).’’
Dover Police investigated the incident and sent its report to the Attorney General’s Office of Delaware. The Attorney General’s Office has not determined if to seek charges against Busch.
Jones wrote in the Supplemental Disposition that Driscoll’s version was more credible “based upon her demeanor when required to recall and describe the alleged acts of abuse, the absence of motive to falsify when she initially disclosed the alleged abuse moments after the events in a manner consistent with her trial testimony, the fact that her testimony regarding those events is corroborated by documentary evidence, including photographs of her injuries and text communications between both parties both before and after the incident and between herself and others after the incident.’’
Jones also wrote that Busch’s version of the events on Sept. 26, 2014 was “less credible than (Driscoll’s) version based upon the manner in which he initially testified regarding those events, his obvious interest in preserving his racing career, which could be endangered by a finding that he committed an act of domestic violence, the fact that his testimony conflicts with the documentary evidence that corroborates (Driscoll’s) version of the events … the fact that his testimony is inconsistent with the credible testimony of other witnesses.’’
Jones writes that Busch’s version of events “does not make sense and is unlikely to be true given the totality of the other evidence admitted at trial.’’
Jones also noted the demeanor and manner in which Driscoll testified about the events of Sept. 26, writing “each time (Driscoll) was required to recall the alleged incident in court, whether on direct or cross examination, she became visibly upset. … She trembled, cried and sobbed to such an extent that her responses occasionally became difficult to understand. The Court perceived this emotion to be genuine and consistent with the kind of response expected of domestic violence victims required to recollect and describe in detail the acts of abuse committed against them.’’
Jones questioned Busch’s testimony. Jones wrote that Busch “appeared to have memorized his version of the events and seemed unwilling or unable to answer questions that required him to discuss the events out of the sequence in which he had memorized them, instead giving narrative answers that brought counsel “up to speed” with the sequential order of his story. While memorization and/or rehearsal of testimony are not, in and of themselves proof of fabrication, the manner of (Busch’s) initial testimony calls the credibility of his testimony into question, as the truth should be accessible to an honest witness in any sequence requested by counsel.
“(Busch’s) counsel seemed to have astutely recognized the credibility issue presented by (Busch’s) manner of testifying, as he objected to his own client being permitted to testify in the narrative. Significantly, after the objection of his counsel and instruction by the Court, (Busch) resumed testifying in the same manner, it appearing to the Court to be the only way he could recall his version of the events.’’