The defendant, Ashley Bryan (26) of Highland, was driving northbound on the 57 freeway at Katella Ave. when her vehicle collided with a stopped Camaro on the freeway shoulder. The front end of the Camaro was partially in the slow lane. The collision pushed 18 year old Cameron Cook, who was standing outside of the Camaro, over the guardrail causing him to fall 50 to 60 feet to the concrete adjacent the freeway.
Cook, died at the hospital five hours later. It was later determined that Bryan’s blood alcohol content was 0.17 percent two and a half hours after the collision.
Bryan was found guilty of driving under the influence causing bodily injury and driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more causing bodily injury.
After three days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial when the jurors could not decide whether to convict Bryan of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with gross negligence. Apparently, the jury deadlocked at 11-1 in favor of convicting Bryan of the more serious of the charges.
The result has caused some to condemn the decision of the solo, non-convicting juror.
I don’t condone drunk driving in this case or in any case, but I do applaud a juror who follows the law, not their emotions. Whether it was case here, I do not know. But I would like to remind my readers that our system requires the jurors to presume that the defendant is innocent until the prosecutor proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the victim’s vehicle was partially in the slow lane, there may be a reasonable doubt that the Bryan’s actions were the cause of the accident. If that is the case, the juror should be applauded for following the law and not their emotion.
One Response to “Jury Deadlocks in OC DUI Manslaughter Case”
I am the one solo juror who did not convict on the greater charge due to the way the law is written and I don’t think her actions were considered gross in the way the “Law” is written. I do however believe that she was guilty of Manslaughter while intoxicated with a .08 blood alcohol level and higher (which is the lesser charge of gross). However in order to have convicted her of that charge, all other jurors would have had to agree on not guilty on the lesser charge and then we could have found her guilty on the lesser charge. The law in this case had made a error on the police report which is one issue saying she was on a cell phone in which she was not.. They said they made a error in testimony. That infraction alone could have been escalated to gross but it was untrue. Then also she was not speeding, she was merging on the freeway and had only less then 4 seconds to stop the car where the car was 50% blocking the roadway.. (testified). In addition another caller “Almost hit the car” too…. This was absolute worse experience that I have dealt with in my life but I know I made the correct decision based off how the law is written. The DA filed the wrong charge.. It’s that simple.