Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Complaint amended in vehicle fatality

Prosecutor alleges Stevens was either DUI or grossly negligent

Express Staff Writer

Cody William Stevens

The Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has amended a criminal complaint against a Twin Falls man for a vehicle fatality in Hailey last week to allege that Cody William Stevens was either driving under the influence or grossly negligent.

Prosecutors allege that either situation is sufficient for a vehicular manslaughter charge against Stevenson, who is accused in the death of Bertilia Lyn Redfern, a secretary at the Roark Law Firm in Hailey.

The original complaint charged Stevens with either vehicular manslaughter or aggravated DUI. Both crimes are felonies and are punishable in Idaho by up to 15 years in prison.

"We feel that felony vehicular manslaughter is the appropriate charge given that the defendant either drove in an unlawful manner with gross negligence that caused the death, or he was driving under the influence of some type of substance that rendered him unable to safely operate a vehicle, which caused the death," Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas explained in an e-mail to the Idaho Mountain Express.

"Aggravated DUI did not necessarily address the fact that a person was killed as a result of the defendant's actions," Thomas wrote.

Stevens allegedly swerved into the path of a vehicle driven by Redfern north of the Countryside Boulevard traffic signal in Hailey on Tuesday, March 10. Police allege that Redfern swerved to avoid Stevens and was struck by another vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stevens, 28, remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County jail on $75,000 bond.

Stevens was originally denied the services of a public defender, but Hailey attorney Douglas Werth was assigned to the case on Monday under his public defender's contract with Blaine County.

Meanwhile, Hailey police continue to investigate possible drug charges against Stevens, who was allegedly in possession of unlabeled prescription muscle relaxers at the time of his arrest.

"We're still piecing together timelines and conducting interviews," said Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter.

Terry Smith:

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