Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa. The day before the defense’s motion to suppress evidence was to be heard, the court dismissed the much publicized charges against GRL Law’s client at the request of the prosecution.
GRL Law’s client, a local farmer and president of the Iowa Farmers Union, was accused of Vehicular Homicide by way of Reckless Driving. This accusation was a Class C Felony, carrying the potential for up to 10 years in prison for a man who had never been on the wrong side of the law before. The accusation was based upon evidence of speeding and lawfully talking on his cellular telephone at the time of the accident. In order to prove these charges, the prosecution would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Aaron’s conduct was a willful and wanton disregard of the safety of others as opposed to merely violative of a rule of the road.
As the evidence was uncovered it became clear that this was a tragic accident that did not rise to the level of reckless conduct. Even before charges were filed, news outlets reported that the driver of the other vehicle was learning to drive a manual transmission vehicle on this rural county highway. Law enforcement’s investigation concluded that the other driver was traveling over 40 miles per hour below the posted speed limit at the time of the collision which would have contributed to the accident.
GRL Law’s client, a strong and devout family man and active member in his community patiently endured over nine months of uncertainty while the case slowly worked its way through a legal system delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, as the evidence became clearer, the experienced prosecutor had the courage and integrity to re-evaluate the State’s case. After considering the witness testimony, available evidence and circumstances of the case, the prosecution correctly concluded that dismissal of the Vehicular Homicide accusations was in the interest of justice. GRL Law’s client accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea to the traffic offenses of Speeding and Failure to Stop in a Safe and Assured Distance.