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COA cites double jeopardy clause in reversal of conviction

March 25, 2011


The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a truck driver who caused an accident that killed a highway worker should not have been convicted of two Class C felonies, citing double jeopardy standards.

Gravel truck driver William Hurt had driven through a workzone on Interstate 164 several times on the day his truck slammed into a parked Indiana Department of Transportation truck. The INDOT vehicle, driven by Mark Shepherdson, was an “arrow board truck,” equipped with a large flashing arrow, directing motorists from the driving lane to the passing lane. Shepherdson died as a result of the crash.

In its consideration of William Hurt v. State of Indiana, No. 82A04-1006-CR-414, the appeals court affirmed Hurt’s conviction of Class C felony reckless disregard of a traffic control device in a highway workzone resulting in death, stating Hurt had seen the multiple construction warnings repeatedly before the crash. However, the court reversed a second conviction – Class C felony reckless operation of a vehicle in a highway workzone resulting in death – stating the same evidence had been considered in determining both convictions.

Citing Spivey v. State, 761 N.E.2d 831 (Ind. 2002), the appeals court ruled that the state likely violated the Indiana Constitution’s prohibition against double jeopardy by relying on the same evidence for Hurt’s dual convictions.
 

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