In the matter of RR (Published Memo): Juvenile conviction for negligent homicide affirmed. A fourteen year old was driving two of his friends in his dad’s Suburban at high speed along a dirt road in stormy conditions. He lost control and hit a tree. One of the driver’s friends was killed. They had gotten bored at the driver’s dad’s house, and were on their way to the driver’s mom’s house to get a Sony Playstation.
RR challenges the State’s petition for failure to state an offense, failure to meet the Family Code’s standards of specificity, and failure to meet the “particularity” threshold needed to satisfy due process in juvenile cases. All of these are denied.
RR also contended that this was just a plain and simple accident, not criminally negligent homicide. Basically, RR argues the reasonableness of his speed. There were some pieces of evidence that could be construed to get the speed down into a more reasonable range. The friend that survived testified that he saw the Suburban’s speedometer, and it read 65 m.p.h., He admitted, however, that the vehicle was skidding at that point, and the freely spinning wheels may have caused a higher reading than the vehicle’s actual speed. Likewise, the Trooper who investigated the wreck admitted that he didn’t do a precise speed workup from the length of the skid marks, etc.
The Tyler court doesn’t get into the speed debate. The Tyler court begins by observing that RR didn’t have a license, and shouldn’t have been driving at any speed. And, as to speed, the evidence may not have established it to the exact mph, but it did establish that RR was driving too fast for a wet dirt road. That’s enough to support the trial court’s judgment. RR was placed on probation until he turns 18.