Judgment against trooper in traffic death upheld
December 22, 2004
The Nevada Supreme court Wednesday upheld a wrongful death judgment against a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper who ran over a man on I-15.
Robert Dodson was killed the night of December 26, 1997, after a bicycle he was transporting came loose and fell from the roof of his vehicle.
Dodson stopped the vehicle and began walking back up the median of the highway to retrieve the bike.
Witnesses including Dodson’s family said NHP trooper Daniel Bennett hit the bike, then drove into the median, hitting and killing Dodson. They testified the trooper never swerved to miss the bike, didn’t slow down and kept driving until he turned off the highway and hit Dodson.
Trooper Bennett was found to be solely negligent in Dodson’s death. But the state appealed saying there was evidence Dodson had methamphetamine and marijuana metabolite in his bloodstream when he died.
But the Supreme Court refused to overturn the district court verdict saying there was “insufficient evidence” to support arguments Dodson’s abilities were impaired.
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The court also concluded there was evidence Dodson was walking in the center of the median when he was hit “and this was a reasonable course of action under the circumstances.”
“Thus we conclude that the district court did not err in finding trooper Bennett solely negligent from the evidence presented.”