"However, tests done on blood taken from Stevens after his arrest came back negative for intoxicants [alcohol], according to court documents. Stevens was not charged in any of the other alleged crashes that day."
Stevens pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter
By Ariel Hansen – Times-News writer | Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 1:00 am | (0) Comments
HAILEY Nearly a year after Bert Redfern died in a March 10 car crash on Idaho Highway 75 in Hailey, a Twin Falls man has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the fatal crash.
Cody Stevens, 29, of Twin Falls, had been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter. On Tuesday, just weeks before his district court trial was set to begin, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine.
The prosecutor’s office previously alleged Stevens was either under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or was grossly negligent in causing Redfern’s death. They alleged he had been involved in four crashes on that day, two prior to the fatal crash and one immediately afterward.
According to court documents, Stevens allegedly left his job in Jerome after a 12-hour shift at 6 a.m. March 10, and drove north. In Lincoln County, he was allegedly reported as a reckless driver after he got close enough to “rub mirrors” with the reporting party at about 7:20 a.m. At about 9:45, he allegedly hit a tree south of Bellevue, telling police he swerved to avoid a deer.
After leaving his totaled truck in Bellevue and renting a truck in Hailey, Stevens returned to a Bellevue body shop. He then headed toward Ketchum when he allegedly caused the noon-time collision that resulted in Redfern’s death. He then allegedly flipped his rental truck onto a curb in downtown Hailey, where police took him into custody.
Stevens failed two sobriety tests, court documents allege, and appeared increasingly intoxicated as police questioned him. He reportedly said he had taken Lexapro, an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drug, and was taking Prozac, an antidepressant. A bottle of Baclofen, a muscle relaxant, was allegedly found in the rental truck.
Stevens was taken for blood testing at St. Luke’s Wood River Regional Medical Center, and he was later taken back to the hospital after becoming increasingly unresponsive and incoherent during police questioning, according to court documents.
However, tests done on blood taken from Stevens after his arrest came back negative for intoxicants, according to court documents. Stevens was not charged in any of the other alleged crashes that day.
A civil case for wrongful death is pending against Stevens, filed by Redfern’s widower, and Stevens’ plea to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter can be used against him in that case.
The county case has been sent back to the magistrate court, and a sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Ariel Hansen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-788-3475.