Vehicular Homicide

Before a person can be convicted of vehicular homicide, the prosecution must prove more than a mere failure to use ordinary care.  Instead, it must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The victim is dead; and
  2. The victim’s death was caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by the person accused of vehicular homicide; and
  3. The accused operated the motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of another person or great bodily harm to another person.

The prosecutor is not required to prove that the accused intended to harm or injure the victim or any other person.

In the case of W.E.B. v. State, the appellate court held that although the accused drove his father’s Blazer after he had been drinking, exceeded the posted speed limit, drove over the center line, and collided with an oncoming vehicle after driving off the shoulder of the road, such evidence was insufficient to prove that he drove his vehicle in a reckless manner versus a merely negligent manner.  Accordingly, the court of appeals concluded that the accused was not guilty of vehicular homicide.