Judge finds Casey guilty of vehicular homicide

A District Court judge found a Calhoun County woman guilty of vehicular homicide last week.

Judge Adria Kester, in the written ruling she filed Friday, said Jewell Casey’s actions were so obviously dangerous that Casey should have recognized the hazard she created on the day she struck Eugene Zinnel’s truck on Highway 7. Zinnel died two days after the crash of the injuries he suffered in the collision.

“Here, the defendant was driving at a high rate of speed as observed by witness Moritz and determined by Trooper Lynn Olesen’s findings,” Kester wrote. “She was holding her phone and almost clipped the front of the tractor as she passed Moritz. Additionally, she was doing so in an area of the highway warning of a flagman and construction ahead. Such signs would cause a driver to reduce speed and expect stopped or slowed traffic ahead. The evidence shows the defendant did not reduce her speed, engage her brakes nor maneuver her vehicle to avoid a collision. The defendant’s passing of the tractor at a high rate of speed, holding her phone, almost clipping the front of the tractor, her failure to reduce her speed, stop her vehicle or even maneuver to avoid the stopped traffic, all support a finding of recklessness.”

Read more in the Oct. 10 edition.