Accuser seemed OK early on, driver says

Staff WriterMay 27, 2006 

— The man who drove the accuser in the Duke University lacrosse case to the team party said she did not seem intoxicated when he dropped her off that night.

Brian Taylor, who met the accuser at a Super Bowl party two years ago, said he spent an hour and a half with her before driving her to the party where she was hired to dance.

"She had called me a few hours earlier, asking me if she could use my place to get ready," Taylor said Friday.

Taylor said he did not know how the woman, a 27-year-old N.C. Central University student with two children, got to his home March 13. But he said that when she arrived about 9 p.m., he noticed nothing unusual about her demeanor. He did not say whether they consumed any alcohol.

Taylor had known for a while that his guest was a dancer. He and a male friend had watched her perform at clubs in Smithfield and Hillsborough.

As he sat in front of his PlayStation console March 13, the accuser showered behind a closed door and modeled at least two negligees for her host, he said.

"She asked my opinion," he said. "The first one was this black outfit, and I said, 'No.' When she came out in the red one I said, 'That's better.' "

It was 10:45 p.m., Taylor estimated, when they left for 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

"The deal was for me to take her over there for about a two-hour show," he said. "She was supposed to call me to come pick her up."

Taylor did not hear from her again until 7 a.m. the next day. She was at Duke Hospital.

"She was distraught," he said. "I could tell that she was crying. She asked me to pick up her kids."

He said she didn't mention being attacked in that conversation or in a call more than a week later.

"She just told me her name would be in the news," Taylor said.

He said he did not check on the accuser's children or tell her parents where she was. "I told her I would, but I didn't," he said. "I don't know her that well."

Taylor said he has not seen the accuser since that night. Police came to his home weeks ago and asked him to make a statement.

He said that all he could tell investigators was about their visit and the drive to the house, which he had difficulty finding.

Taylor and his passenger were flagged down by a man outside 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. awaiting their arrival. "On our way there, she got two calls on her cell phone saying if you don't come soon, it's going to get canceled," Taylor said.

Staff writer Anne Blythe can be reached at 932-8741 or ablythe@newsobserver.com.

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