Jury acquits driver in 2003 fatal collision

Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

PALMER - A Palmer jury has acquitted a pickup driver who struck and killed a snowmachiner six years ago.

Joe O'Brien was on trial for a second time before Superior Court Judge Eric Smith. His first trial ended in a conviction of criminally negligent homicide, but a state appeals court ruled O'Brien should get a new trial because Smith ruled evidence that the victim was drunk was inadmissible.

Prosecutors argued O'Brien shouldn't have been driving because his pickup was in poor working order, but jurors found him not guilty Monday.

Prosecutor Paul Roetman says the combination of a sober driver and an intoxicated snowmachiner hindered his ability to win a conviction.

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