Oyin Jones Mitchell (age 39) has been charged with Second Degree Vehicular Homicide, Failure to Yield, and Seatbelt Violation. She has been arrested and released on $50,000 bond. The crash occurred in Cobb County Georgia, on July 6th, 2014.
The basis of the charge is an allegation that Ms. Mitchell failed to yield the right of way while making a left turn. The motorcyclist could not stop timely and crashed into the passenger side of the vehicle driven by Mitchell.
I have personally had several cases just like this, and the State must prove that the driver's left turn caused the accident because it did not give the motorcyclist sufficient time to either avoid the collision or to stop prior to it.
The key word is “caused” the accident. Ms. Mitchell would be well served to hire her own accident reconstructionist. The police are alleging she is the at fault driver, however their assumption is based upon the evidence they have gathered. Many times that evidence is incorrectly interpreted.
In a case like this, the entire basis of fault is tied to the speed of the motorcyclist. The time it would have taken him to stop or avoid the collision is tied to the speed in which he was traveling. If the State's experts either incorrectly estimate that speed, or if no speed calculation can be made, then causation cannot be proven.
To put it another way, the reasonableness of the left turn and the interpretation of Ms. Mitchell's judgment is contingent on what really happened. Even if her turn was illegal, it does not necessarily make her completely at fault in the collision. The motorcyclist could have been also been negligent and have contributed to his own death.
I hope the accused in this case gets competent legal help from a qualified attorney who understands how to defend a Vehicular Homicide case in Georgia. She will need a top-rated Cobb County DUI Attorney on her side.