Pennsylvania's Superior Court upholds verdict in case of drunken - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Pennsylvania's Superior Court upholds verdict in case of drunken driver who killed a Monongalia County, WV, sheriff's deputy in 2012

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The drunken driver sentenced to between 25-50 years in prison in Pennsylvania for leading police on a high-speed chase that culminated with him striking and killing Monongalia County, West Virginia, Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Michael May in 2012 lost his appeal.

The driver, Jerod Alan Green, had asked Pennsylvania's Superior Court to overturn his convictions, which included two counts of driving under the influence, fourth or subsequent offense, and one count each of third-degree murder; fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer; and homicide by vehicle while fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

Police had been called to the scene of a hit-and-run on Easton Hill near Morgantown in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2012. A full-sized pickup truck matching the description of the hit-and-run vehicle was spotted a short time later in Morgantown and stopped.

Green told officers who stopped him that someone had struck his truck but he left the scene because he had four drunk driving convictions on his record. When one of the officers who'd stopped him looked away, Green also fled the traffic stop, dragging an officer with him for a short time.

Police pursued him, later testifying that Green was driving erratically and aggressively at speeds as high as 60 miles per hour. Witnesses said they watched Green “accelerate hard” before ramming his truck into May's cruiser.

In his appeal, Green had argued May's was outside his jurisdiction, had not been in hot pursuit and had attempted to use “deadly force” to stop him. He also contended the blood test violated his rights because he hadn't been properly Mirandized when deputies asked him if he'd been drinking, and that the jury shouldn't have been told about his four prior drunk driving convictions.

“According to Green, the Commonwealth failed to prove that he acted with malice, as there was no traffic on the roadway, and when the police left him with an avenue of escape, he took it,” the court records noted. “Green contends that he accelerated his vehicle to a speed of 98 miles per hour on a straight and unoccupied portion of I-79 for only 2.5 seconds.”

The court, however, sustained Green's conviction, finding that he had “consciously disregarded an unjustified and extremely high risk that his actions might cause death or serious bodily injury.”

In their 24-page opinion, the judges said that the jury, by its verdict, had demonstrated that it “did not credit Green's version of the events. We may not substitute our own judgment for that of the jury.”