In an article on the Idaho Statesman website today, we learned that the State has cut a deal with a truck driver who killed two people when his big rig bashed into a stopped passenger car. The deal – driver gets a couple MISDEMEANOR counts of vehicular manslaughter. Read the article here.
The driver, Gregory Roberts, killed Boise residents Jeanette Neil and Roy Valpey. Prosecutors say that they did not feel there was evidence of criminal negligence – the mental state required for a felony charge. But Neil and Valpey were sitting in traffic in a construction zone in their Hyundai when Roberts hit them and crushed their car. No proof of gross negligence? Isn’t that what juries are for? If the prosecutors had put on their case and a jury had returned a misdemeanor verdict I could understand – but prosecutors charge felony DUI every day, without so much as a thought about the level of culpability.
I know I should feel like this is a good thing, as a criminal defense lawyer I am always trying to get this type of treatment for my clients. But as I said – Big Rigs Kill! Our focus this year with Gerry Spence’s law firm is to try and "drive" home the dangers posed by too much speed and inattention at the wheel by truck drivers. Check out that post here. And slow down – the life you save may be your own.