Jay Middle School principal on unpaid leave pending outcome of manslaughter case
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL World Correspondent
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 9:51 PM
JAY — A Jay Middle School principal charged with manslaughter in connection with a fatal boating accident on Grand Lake agreed on Wednesday to be put on unpaid administrative leave until the conclusion of his criminal proceedings.
Roger Shane Carroll, 39, of Eucha, is charged in Delaware County District Court with a felony charge of first-degree manslaughter and reckless operation of a vessel, a misdemeanor.
Carroll, who has been with the school district for 16 years, was the subject of a special school board meeting seeking to terminate his position.
Karen Long, the school’s attorney and Winston Connor II, Carroll’s attorney did not present any evidence during the hearing but rather the school board went into executive session after both sides gave statements.
Long argued that the hearing was not about the criminal charges but whether Carroll was morally responsible and a role model for the students.
“He (Carroll) brought his own son (on the boat) and allowed him to drink,” Long said.
Long also said the elder Carroll allowed his 17-year-old son, Brooks, to purchase alcohol.
Connor argued the hearing should be continued until after the case goes to trial — expected to be in February or March. He also assured the board Carroll would not plead to a lesser crime.
“The evidence will show he (Carroll) was not driving the boat and probably he was not intoxicated,” Connor said.
School board members, Navada Jeffries, Curt Rader, Leroy Hendren, Monte Rutherford and Linda Bingham, approved the agreement after returning from an executive session that lasted over an hour.
In addition, Carroll agreed to resign from his position if he is convicted in the criminal proceedings and if he is acquitted will resume the due process hearing within two weeks and not invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege, which protects witnesses from being forced to incriminate themselves by not testifying.
Monte Price, 39, of Jay; Brian Smith, 39, of Tahlequah, Brooks Carroll, 17, and Shane Carroll were aboard a passenger boat when it struck a breakwater structure near Arrowhead South Marina around 2 a.m. on July 29.
A Grand River Dam Authority preliminary report states Shane Carroll was driving the boat — an allegation disputed by Connor. Alcohol use and excessive speed contributed to the crash, according to a GRDA preliminary report. The group reportedly had attended a wedding and reception.
The elder Carroll was found in the boat but was injured in the crash. Price’s body was found 12 hours later in 50 feet of water in the Duck Creek arm of Grand Lake.
Carroll’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Delaware County District Court.