Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa. Vehicular Homicide charge against GRL’s client was dismissed by the court because the prosecution failed to present enough evidence for the case to continue any further forward at trial.
GRL’s client was charged with Vehicular Homicide under Iowa’s texting and driving law after he was involved in a tragic accident with a bicyclist on a county highway that resulted in the bicyclist’s death. GRL’s client stayed on the scene, called 911, attempted to assist the bicyclists and cooperated fully with law enforcement. When law enforcement arrived he explained that he did not see the cyclists but looked down at his phone after receiving a Facebook notification immediately prior to the accident. Cell phone forensics established GRL’s client had not written, sent, nor opened a message on his phone at or near the time of the accident.
Iowa’s texting and driving law is poorly written and is a convoluted mess where it attempts to declare what drivers can and cannot do on their phones while driving. Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding the law and its application, the judge ultimately concluded that taking the evidence even in the light most favorable to the State, the State had not presented sufficient evidence that the defendant had violated Iowa’s texting and driving laws at the time of the accident. In fact, the prosecution had failed to prove that GRL’s client even picked up his phone or manipulated it prior to the accident. Because GRL’s client was driving at or around the speed limit and there was no other evidence of erratic driving, the court concluded that the State had not presented the necessary evidence of Reckless Driving for the case to go any further. Case dismissed!
This was a tragic case on a number of different levels. Our hearts go out to both the family of the victim and our client who will forever be impacted by this terrible accident. It takes courage for a Judge to make a hard but correct legal call on a case that is surrounded by so much emotion. GRL is grateful to see the criminal justice system work even in a very difficult and emotional case. As always impressed with our client and his family who endured over a year-and-a-half of court proceedings but who trusted us to see their cases through the jury trial process. Cheers to a hard fought, well-deserved, N.F.G! We cannot think of a more deserving client.