Trial for DUI homicide case could be delayed

Trial for DUI homicide case could be delayed

Case might come down to crash experts, defense attorney says

Originally scheduled to go to trial in December, a man accused of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence is now scheduled to head to trial in April. Even that date might be tentative, his defense attorney said during a brief hearing Friday.

Juneau man Dylan J. Wiard, 26, was indicted by a Juneau grand jury in August on charges that stem from a June 24, 2016 car crash. The crash, which happened near Hoonah, claimed the life of 23-year-old Jeffrey Turner, according to the indictment.

Wiard’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Deborah Macaulay, said Friday morning that the current April 22 trial date might also need to be pushed back. Macaulay said the prosecution, headed up by Assistant District Attorney Bailey Woolfstead, spent months researching the mechanics of the crash and she might like to have a crash expert if the case does go to trial.

“Depending on what the eventual offer is, we may have to hire an accident reconstruction expert of our own,” Macaulay said, “because I think that’s what this case comes down to.”

She said there’s a “real possibility” the trial gets moved. Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said he was somewhat wary of moving the trial because there’s a large amount of witnesses and some of them have to travel. The grand jury interviewed eight witnesses and took nine search warrants into account, according to the original indictment.

[Woman charged with murder pleads not guilty]

Attorneys can make motions up until April 14, Pallenberg ruled. That’s the day of the pretrial hearing where, in theory, attorneys tie up loose ends prior to the trial starting. At a hearing in August, Woolfstead said the trial could last two or three weeks.

Wiard was present for Friday’s hearing, which lasted only about two minutes. Woolfstead was not able to make the hearing and Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige filled in on behalf of the state.

Wiard (pronounced wired) and Turner were friends, Woolfstead said in court in August. Turner was from Tampa Bay, Florida, according to reports at the time. Wiard was flown to Bartlett Regional Hospital for injuries from the rollover crash, according to reports at the time. Wiard has no other criminal history, according to electronic court records.

Manslaughter is a class A felony, criminally negligent homicide is a class B felony and driving under the influence is a class A misdemeanor. According to the indictment, the grand jury interviewed eight witnesses and took nine search warrants into account.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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