Sperry man convicted of ODOT worker's death in construction-zone crash
BY LAURA SUMMERS World Correspondent
Friday, March 01, 2013
BARTLESVILLE – A Washington County jury found a 20-year-old Sperry man guilty of first-degree manslaughter Friday in the November 2011 death of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker.
The 11-woman, one-man jury deliberated seven hours before convicting Deven Wayne Franklin on three charges filed in Washington County District Court as a result of a Nov. 30 vehicle accident in which Ira Henderson, 42, was killed. The jury recommended a four-year prison term for Franklin.
Henderson, an ODOT worker from Bartlesville, was killed when he was struck by Franklin’s car in a construction zone on U.S. 75.
Franklin testified Thursday and acknowledged that he had smoked marijuana in the hours before the accident occurred. Prosecutors argued that Franklin was impaired by the marijuana, which led to the accident.
“Some mistakes you just can’t take back,” Assistant District Attorney Jared Sigler said. “Mr. Franklin made a mistake that he can’t take back. He made a decision to ingest marijuana on the morning of Nov. 30, and he can’t take that back.”
Kristy Sanders, court-appointed attorney for Franklin, had argued that the accident was caused by a diabetic episode, noting that her client’s blood sugar level was above 500 when the collision occurred.
The jury found Franklin guilty of felony first-degree manslaughter, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Jurors recommended four years for the manslaughter conviction and no prison time for the drug convictions.
Associate District Judge Russell Vaclaw set an April 15 sentencing date for Franklin, who returned to the Washington County Jail in handcuffs after the trial.
Read more in Saturday's Tulsa World.
Deven Wayne Franklin
ODOT employee Ira Henderson
Randle White, Oklahoma Department of Transportation division engineer, comments as Brian Sutton holds the unveiled highway sign during a dedication ceremony for the Ira Lee Henderson Memorial Highway along U.S. 75 south of Bartlesville last September. Henderson was struck by a vehicle and killed in November 2011 as he was working in a construction zone on U.S. 75. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file