Submitted October 29, 2015.
County Circuit Court 12CR2500FE; George William Ambrosini,
Gartlan, Chief Defender, and Ingrid A. MacFarlane, Deputy
Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the
brief for appellant.
F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor
General, and Karla H. Ferrall, Assistant Attorney General,
fled the brief for respondent.
Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Chief Judge, and
Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for
manslaughter in the second degree, ORS 163.125. He assigns
error to the trial court's denial of his motion for
judgment of acquittal, contending that the evidence was
insufficient to prove that he acted recklessly.
Held: Based on the facts adduced at trial and the
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those facts,
there was sufficient evidence that defendant was aware of and
consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk
that his conduct would cause the death of another human
being. Therefore, the evidence was sufficient to prove that
defendant acted recklessly, and the trial court did not err
in denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal.
appeals a judgment of conviction for manslaughter in the
second degree, ORS 163.125, for causing the death of another
while driving. He assigns error to the trial court's
denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal, contending
that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he acted
recklessly. The state responds that the evidence is
sufficient "to support a reasonable inference that
defendant was aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk
that continuing to drive that day would cause the death of
another person and that he consciously disregarded that
risk." We agree with the state. Accordingly, we affirm.
state the facts in the light most favorable to the state and
review those facts to determine whether a rational trier of
fact could have found defendant guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt. State v. Cunningham, 320 Or 47, 63, 880 P.2d
431 (1994), cert den, 514 U.S. 1005 (1995). On the
morning of November 17, 2012, at around 9:00 a.m., Seehawer
pulled out of her driveway and started to drive on Buckhorn
Road. Seehawer noticed that defendant was driving a Jeep
Grand Cherokee "very close to the back of [her] truck,
" and she began to drive faster than usual because she
felt "pushed." When she looked back, defendant had
"backed off." Soon after, defendant's Jeep was
"on [her] tail" a second time but again backed off
until she could no longer see defendant in her rearview
mirror. Defendant's Jeep was on her tail for a third time
as she approached Highway 138.
then turned left from Buckhorn Road onto Highway 138 and
pulled into the far right lane so that defendant could pass
her. Defendant passed Seehawer and continued on Highway 138
in the left lane. At one point, Seehawer observed defendant
"drift" into the turn lane and then correct his
steering back into the left lane. Defendant entered a
"sweeping curve, " and Seehawer lost sight of
defendant's Jeep, but, when she rounded the curve, she
saw defendant's Jeep rolling over.
driving on Highway 138 for about 1.25 miles, defendant's
Jeep had crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a
red Neon driven by Fields. The two cars initially hit each
other on their front left corners and along the drivers'
sides. Fields received fatal injuries in the collision and
died later that day.
Police Officer Rosas responded to the scene of the crash at
about 9:30 a.m. Rosas observed that defendant's Jeep was
on its right side and waited with defendant until the
paramedics arrived. Defendant's hand was bleeding and he
told the officer that his feet and an ankle were in pain.
Defendant also told Rosas that he hoped that he had not
Dahl and Harr arrived and helped defendant out of the Jeep
and into an ambulance. At that time, defendant was
"alert" and "oriented, " and only
complained about his leg hurting. Both Dahl and Harr noticed
that defendant had "significant scarring" and
recent "track marks" on his forearm, which are
commonly associated with intravenous drug use. Defendant told
Dahl that he was a drug user and that he had "shot
up" that morning. Defendant told Harr that he had used
methamphetamine "a few days" before the crash and
Oxycodone the day before the crash. He also said that he had
felt "really ...