Report: Driver Won't Face Homicide Charges After Trooper's Death
POSTED: 11:13 p.m. EDT September 10, 2004
UPDATED: 11:20 p.m. EDT September 10, 2004
Story by nbc4.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The man accused of driving a car that hit and killed a state trooper in May will not be prosecuted for homicide, News 4 reported.
However, Darryl Harris will face charges of drunken driving.
Trooper Anthony Jones (pictured, left) died when he was struck by a car on John Hanson Highway in Bowie, Md.
An investigation into the incident revealed that "the cause of this collision was pedestrian error."
According to the 24-page report, Jones walked onto the dark highway to pick up a large piece of debris when he was struck. Harris' alleged impairment was a contributing factor to the crash, the investigation found.
Investigators believe the crash happened when Harris' eyes were drawn to the flashing lights of the police vehicles on the right shoulder of the road, which is why Harris failed to see Jones.
Harris was traveling at an estimated 70 to 77 mph in a posted 65 mph zone, according to the report.
"After a careful analysis, we concluded that we could not move forward on vehicular homicide. We don't have enough evidence to meet the legal requirements," said Glenn Ivey, state's attorney for Prince George's County. "But we do on driving under the influence, so we'll proceed forward on driving under the influence."
They should amend state law reference DUI collisions. Our vehicle code states the primary collision factor is DUI if anyone is drunk. Doesnt matter if a sober driver pulls out infront of you on your way home ffromthe bar and you hit him. If you are drunk, DUI is the PCF.
He was walking in the middle of the highway. Drunk or not (the driver) the trooper was at a high risk and liklyhood of being hit. The report says it was a contributor not cause. I dont have a problem with him NOT being charged with murder. Charge him with anything else but murder.
Here if you are intoxicated, driving, and you kill someone it's homicide by DUI.
A defense written into the law says basically If the accused can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the crash would have occurred if they were sober, than they are not guilty of homicide by DUI.
Then again, when you see emergency lights, SLOW DOWN. Is that an tough concept?
Also, next time you a driving an a stopped police car is in a lane of travel with it's lights on, think back to this story.
Traffic laws are weird in my state. As I already said, a drunk driver, is always at fault, no matter really caused the accident.
Check this one out. Say you are driving 55MPH, in a posted 55MPH and a deer runs out in front of you and you hit it. anyone want to guess what the primary collison factor is? It's unsafe speed. I hate explaining that one to people in traffic court; "yes, the posted limit was 55MPH. but the maximum safe speed, When a deer is standing in the roadway is significantly lower."
There, fixed it for you.
I have a problem with the impaired person being at fault, regardless of the rest of the circumstances. Part of the problem is the diminishing concept of what constitutes "impaired".
These days it's down to .8% BAC. The reasoning behind this is relatively benign, namely, that most drivers experience significant degradation of gross motor skills at 0.8% BAC. The problem is, a person can experience the same or worse impairment from taking sinus medication, being sleep deprived or sleepy, having kids in the backseat, and talking on the cell phone.
By the always at fault standard, one could be stopped at a red light with a 0.81 BAL, and a driver asleep at the wheel veers out of his opposite lane, plows into you, and you are at fault because you are legally impaired. You live, the other driver dies, you go to jail for vehicular homicide. That is a bit fucked up.
Thanks MADD for pushing down totally nonsensical and tyrannical laws!