<BR> Drivers charged in separate incidents
- Bill Sheehy
- Central Oregonian - Features
Two people were arraigned in circuit court last week, one on a charges that include manslaughter and the other with reckless driving and hit and run
August 28, 2001 -- The driver of the car that rammed into another last spring resulting in a death has been charged with manslaughter.
Kellee Elizabeth Gerard has been accused of causing the death of 16-year-old Lacy Barnhouse in an accident last May. In a secret grand jury indictment, Gerard, who was 20 at the time, will face second degree manslaughter, two counts of assault and one count of driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
The accident occurred on the evening of May 11. According to the district attorney's report, Gerard was driving a full-size Ford Bronco southbound on Main Street when her vehicle rear-ended a four-door sedan. The Barnhouse girl was riding in the back seat of the sedan and was killed instantly.
The driver of the sedan, 17-year-old Rachel Dunaway was seriously injured in the collision. She was flown to St. Charles Medical Clinic in Bend for treatment. Dunaway has since been released and is recovering from the accident. Another passenger, 16-year-old Linsay Jones, was treated and released from Pioneer Memorial Hospital.
Gerard suffered minor injuries and was treated at PMH and released. Her 14-month-old son, Gavin, was riding with his mother and was not injured.
During Gerard's arraignment, District Attorney Gary Williams explained to the court that the matter could not be turned over to a grand jury until the investigation was completed. That took place on last Thursday and the accused was taken into custody.
Citing a history of motor vehicle accidents which included driving into a parked trailer in Marion County in 1997, Williams asked that bail be set at $135,000.
Gerard's attorney, Robert Doyle, formerly entered a not guilty plea on his client's behalf and asked Judge Gary Thompson for a third-party release.
"This case has been under investigation since May," Doyle pointed out, "she has known of the investigation for three months and did not flee the jurisdiction. She has no criminal record, and I don't know what the Department of Motor Vehicles records show. All indications are that she is not a flight risk."
Thompson studied the reports for a moment and decided to hold Gerard in custody on $50,000 security. The matter of a third-party release will be taken up again during a hearing scheduled for later today.
Manslaughter in the second degree is a Measure 11 offense and carries a minimum prison sentence of 75 months if convicted. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. If convicted of the assault and driving while under the influence charges, Gerard could be sentenced to an additional seven years in custody.
In another case, Wendell Urcell Teitsworth has been charged with DUII, reckless driving, assault and hit and run.
Teitsworth, 38, is free on a third-party release and appeared in court for arraignment last Thursday. He has been accused of two count of recklessly driving in the Kilowatt Field parking lot and again on Harwood St. a week or so ago. According to a police report, the offender was seen by an off-duty police officer driving fast out of the parking lot, running into a guy wire that supports a light standard. Without stopping, the accused allegedly took off southbound on Harwood.
The incident was reported to Prineville police officers. A short time later, a resident living on Davis Loop called police to report that a car had just plunged off the pavement and into the ditch. When officers arrived at the scene, they were told that the driver, who later was identified as Teitsworth, had fled into the brush. Two passengers were found in the vehicle and transported by ambulance to Pioneer Memorial Hospital.
Teitsworth was captured a short time later and taken into custody.
The assault and hit and run charges stemmed from the suspect for showing "extreme indifference to the value of human life and causing physical injury" and for having left the scene without "performing the duties of driver to injured persons." A second hit and run charge was for leaving the scene of an accident that caused property damage.
The damage to property was also the basis for a charge of criminal mischief to be levied against Teitsworth. In addition, the defendant was said to be driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Teitsworth testified that he could not afford a lawyer and the case was turned over to the public defender, Robert Doyle. Doyle entered a not guilty plea on all counts for his client.