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An Oakdale teenager has pled guilty to four felonies in the traffic deaths of his friends and classmates.
Joshua Brown, who was 16 at the time of the accident on Dec. 11, 2006,
pled guilty in Morgan County Criminal Court to two counts of criminally
negligent homicide and two counts of aggravated assault, according to District
Attorney General Russell Johnson.
Brown made the plea before Judge Eugene Eblen on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Brown and his attorney, Tom McFarland, agreed to move the case from
juvenile court to criminal court. By doing so, Johnson said the Court is able to
maintain control for a longer period of time than it would have in juvenile
court. Johnson said regardless Brown would not have been a candidate to serve
time in prison because drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the accident and
he had no prior criminal history.
Trooper Josh Thorne worked the accident and at that time he said Joshua
Brown, 16, was driving south on Airport Road in a 1986 Mazda pickup. He had two
passengers, Jason Neal, 15 and Brandon Neal, 14, traveling with him.
Jordan Langley, 17, was driving north on Airport Road in a 1991 Chevy
S-10 Blazer. He had one passenger Seth Moore, 16.
According to Trooper Thornes report Browns truck crossed into
Langleys lane of traffic and the two vehicles hit head-on.
Thorne said the posted speed limit for the stretch of road which was
close to the Oakdale Fuel Center is 45 mph and just about one mile from Oakdale
School. Thorne said that if both vehicles were traveling at the posted speed
limit it would have seemed like 90 mph at impact.
Jordan Langley, the 17-year-old driver of the S-10 was killed along with
a passenger in Browns vehicle Jason Neal, 15.
All five teens attended Oakdale School. Langley was a junior and Jason
Neal was a freshman.
Johnson said several rumors were investigated including reports that the
boys were playing chicken. He also said some said they were just
acknowledging each other by quickly swerving toward each other.
I can acknowledge those rumors, Johnson said.
But the investigators were not able to determine for a certainty what
Josh appeared to be more at fault for the accident, Johnson added.
Johnson said his office made the offer to Brown through his attorney in
September but only after extensive discussions with the victim-families.
As part of his plea agreement Joshua Brown will be placed on supervised
probation for five years, which includes judicial diversion. His drivers
license is revoked for one year after which time the Court may grant restricted
driving privileges. He will have to perform 200 hours of community service and
pay courtcosts. He will also have to submit to tests for drugs and alcohol
consumption. Finally, he will continue with counseling that is already in place.
This kid has to have some post trauma, Johnson said adding that the
situation has been horrible for all parties involved.
Brown lost his best friend and step-brother in the accident.
If Brown completes his probation without any further violations, his
record will be expunged under the judicial diversion agreement.
Johnson pointed out that it is difficult to get a job anywhere including
fast food restaurants without a background check.
Assistant DA Bill Reedy pointed out that if at anytime Brown violates
the terms of the plea agreement, then he has already pled guilty and the State
could automatically seek a new sentencing hearing.
Hopefully by the time hes 23, hell have a clean slate to start over
with, Johnson said.
The plea agreement did not address victim restitution. Johnson said that
is a matter that would require civil action with the victim-families filing a
wrongful death suit against Brown.