Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Felonies charged in reservoir death

Bellevue man incarcerated on $250,000 bond

Express Staff Writer

Steven Tyler Jameson

A 19-year-old Bellevue man was charged Monday with two felonies for allegedly causing the death Saturday of a Ketchum man on the north side of Magic Reservoir, in southern Blaine County.

At an initial appearance Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court, Steven Tyler Jameson was formally charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and a second felony charge of "leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death." He was also charged with the misdemeanor crime of driving without privileges.

Jameson remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County jail on $250,000 bond. Ketchum attorney Dan Dolan has been appointed public defender.

Jameson is accused of causing the death of 26-year-old Stephen Ray Franco. The Blaine County Sheriff's Office reported Monday that Jameson backed his vehicle into Franco, knocking him off a cliff on the west side of the Poison Creek inlet of the reservoir. Franco, who suffered head and chest injuries, was pronounced dead later Saturday in Boise.

Sheriff Gene Ramsey said the accident occurred shortly before 4:30 p.m. when Jameson and Franco were with a group of about a dozen people near a reservoir cliff.

"Basically what happened was Tyler Jameson was backing his gold 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee closer to the rocks and being assisted by Mr. Franco," Ramsey said. "While he was backing it up, his statement is that he went to hit the brake and hit the gas."

Ramsey said the vehicle struck Franco, who was standing behind it, and knocked him off the cliff. Franco fell about 14 feet, striking his head, and then fell another seven feet, the sheriff said.

Ramsey said friends of Franco climbed down the cliff to help him. They were soon joined by two Idaho Department of Fish and Game officers and three off-duty Wood River Fire & Rescue emergency responders who were fishing in the area.


Fire Chief Bart Lassman said Franco was unconscious but breathing when an ambulance arrived. However, Lassman said Franco went into cardiac arrest and died while in flight by emergency helicopter from the scene of the accident to a Boise hospital.

Ramsey said Franco was formally pronounced dead at 6:45 p.m. at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

Franco is the son of Ketchum-area residents Raymond and Pamela Franco.

Ramsey said Jameson left the scene of the accident after his vehicle struck Franco.

"At this point, some people tell him that we're going to call an ambulance and police and you'd better get out of here," Ramsey said.

The sheriff said Jameson was later located at a friend's home in Bellevue and was taken into custody at about 7:15 p.m. Ramsey said Jameson was initially arrested on a charge of aggravated DUI, also a felony, but that the charge was later amended Monday to the two other felonies by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Ramsey said the accident remains under investigation, but preliminary indications are that alcohol was involved.

"Our investigation did indicate from witness statements that he had been drinking," the sheriff said.

Jameson was on probation at the time of the accident from a 2011 misdemeanor conviction of resisting or obstructing officers.

Terry Smith:

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