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Greenbrier man found not guilty in pedestrian death case

Posted: August 22, 2014 - 6:51pm

A Greenbrier man was found not guilty this week of negligent homicide in a vehicle accident that killed a Conway man.

The accident happened on Dec. 27, 2012, when Willis Hall, now 74, of Greenbrier, was driving a vehicle that went off a roadway in Greenbrier and struck and killed 37-year-old Daniel Hightower in his driveway.

Hall was charged with negligent homicide, a class-A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail, in late July, 2013. He was arrested in November, 2013, according to court records. In his trial in Conway District Court on Tuesday, District Judge Susan Weaver granted Hall’s motion for directed verdict on the charge of negligent homicide after all evidence was presented.

Weaver ruled that none of the evidence established negligence, which is defined in state law as “conduct … [that] the person should be aware [presents] a substantial and unjustifiable risk” that the harm alleged would occur given the circumstances. A.C.A. § 5-2-202 (4)(A-B).

In this case, the state trooper who investigated the accident and a witness who was an off-duty law enforcement officer at the time gave testimony that was consistent with Hall losing consciousness while driving. He was acquitted of negligent homicide and reckless driving, but found guilty of careless/prohibited driving and fined.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb, can be reached by email at joe.lamb@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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