A man convicted of criminally negligent homicide had the decision reversed and the indictment dismissed.

On March 13th of 2019, Dennis Howe, a worker for the Department of Transportation was operating a pickup truck on the right shoulder of Route 17 heading westbound.

Howe was sitting in his truck alerting drivers of the upcoming roadwork.
Howe’s truck had an orange sign on the back that read, “road work ahead,” and on the top of the vehicle was a large board that had four flashing lights.

The DOT workers were filling potholes in the right lane.

At approximately 9:45 a.m. the defendant was driving a tractor trailer when his vehicle struck the left side of Howe’s truck. A piece of metal from the tractor trailer severely injured Howe; five days later, Howe passed away.

The defendant appealed, arguing that the verdict is not supported by sufficient evidence.

There was testimony that the victims truck was positioned very close to the fog line.
Immediately after the accident, the defendant told multiple witnesses that another tractor trailer was attempting to pass him on the left, which pinched him over.

The speed limit was 65 miles per hour and the defendant was traveling 70 at the most.

Proof established that the defendant did not see the truck on the side of the road until he hit it.

The Court of Appeals states that it is true that the defendant did not slow down and did not change lanes; however, if the defendant failed to see the victim’s vehicle, then he would not have been aware of the necessity to slow down and move left.

As a result, the evidence acknowledges the defendant’s failure to see Howe’s truck on the shoulder, and although the failure resulted in a tragic death, the circumstances do not constitute a criminally negligent homicide.

Because the evidence was insufficient to sustain the defendant’s conviction, the judgment was reversed and the indictment dismissed.