Delaware fugitive found guilty in 2011 crash death of 2-year-old Bellevue boy - Omaha.com
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 12:00 am / Updated at 1:17 am
Delaware fugitive found guilty in 2011 crash death of 2-year-old Bellevue boy

LINCOLN — A jury has found a Delaware fugitive guilty of motor vehicle homicide for a 2011 crash that killed a 2-year-old Bellevue boy.

The six-member jury in Lancaster County Court found Leamond Pierce, 53, guilty of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide in the Dec. 3, 2011, death of Aidan Curry. The jury returned the verdict shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’re happy with the verdict,” said Pat Condon, chief deputy Lancaster County attorney. “It was a complicated case.”

Pierce was eastbound on an icy patch of Interstate 80 near Waverly, Neb., when his truck rear-ended a 2006 Toyota Camry. The toddler died from severe head trauma. His parents and sister survived the crash.

Pierce faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine when he is sentenced Feb. 11. It remains to be seen what will happen to Pierce, who is serving parole for murder in his home state, after he completes his Nebraska sentence, Condon said.

The jury heard closing arguments Tuesday before beginning deliberations shortly after 11:30 a.m.

Deputy County Attorney Nicholas Freeman argued the crash was caused both by Pierce’s “carelessness” and driving at a high speed in dangerous conditions.

“Find him guilty,” Freeman said. “Hold him accountable.”

At the time of the crash, several cars were in a ditch after sliding off the road and a state trooper had pulled to the side of the interstate.

Prosecutors said that Jeff Curry, the boy’s father, who had just merged onto the Interstate at the Waverly interchange, was driving below the speed limit because of the conditions and because the trooper’s emergency lights were on.

Todd Molvar, a deputy Lancaster County public defender, said Curry’s merge was unexpected and unlawful. According to the defense, Curry was driving at 28 mph while merging, and slowed further in the couple seconds before the crash.

The defense insisted Pierce’s 54 mph speed at the time of impact was not irresponsibly high.

“Sometimes there is such a thing as just an accident,” Molvar said. “And that’s what this is.”

Prosecutors argued Pierce’s speed never fell below 60 mph in the minute before the crash. Freeman said Pierce’s speed was clocked at 66 mph just 30 seconds before impact, and he continued to accelerate until 5 seconds before the crash.

“One-hundred percent throttle, pedal to the medal,” he said.

The speed limit on that stretch of interstate was 55 mph.

Pierce can be heard on a recording from a camera inside the truck on the phone immediately following the crash.

“You can’t anticipate what other people are going to do,” Pierce said. “When you got 40,000 pounds, you can’t stop.”

By driving outside Delaware state lines, Pierce was in violation of his parole for the 1981 execution-style shooting death of a Wilmington, Del., man. Pierce eluded authorities for three months after being charged in the fatal crash before eventually being arrested in southern Illinois.

Leamond Pierce, 53, was eastbound on an icy patch of Interstate 80 near Waverly, Neb., when his truck rear-ended a 2006 Toyota Camry. Toddler Aidan Curry died from severe head trauma in the Dec. 3, 2011, crash. His parents and sister survived the crash.

Pierce is charged with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide in Lancaster County Court.

A Lincoln jury heard closing arguments Tuesday before beginning deliberations shortly after 11:30 a.m.

Nicholas Freeman, the prosecutor, argued the crash was caused both by Pierce's “carelessness” and driving at a high speed in dangerous conditions.

“Find him guilty,” Freeman said. “Hold him accountable.”

At the time of the crash, several cars were in a ditch after sliding off the road and a state trooper had pulled to the side of the interstate.

Prosecutors argued that Jeff Curry, the boy's father, who had just merged onto the Interstate at the Waverly interchange, was driving below the speed limit because of the conditions and because the trooper's emergency lights were on.

Todd Molvar, a deputy Lancaster County public defender, said Curry's merge was unexpected and unlawful. According to the defense, Curry was driving at 28 mph while merging, and slowed further in the couple seconds before the crash.

The defense insisted Pierce's 54 mph speed at the time of impact was not irresponsibly high.

“Sometimes there is such thing as just an accident,” Molvar said. “And that's what this is.”

Prosecutors argued Pierce's speed never fell below 60 mph in the minute before the crash.

Pierce can be heard on a recording from a camera inside the truck on the phone immediately following the crash.

“You can't anticipate what other people are going to do,” Pierce said. “When you got 40,000 pounds, you can't stop.”

By driving outside Delaware state lines, Pierce was in violation of his parole for the 1981 execution-style shooting death of a Wilmington, Del., man. Pierce eluded authorities for three months after being charged in the fatal crash before eventually being arrested in southern Illinois.

He faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide charge in Nebraska.

Contact the writer: Joe Duggan

joe.duggan@owh.com    |  

Joe works in the Lincoln bureau, where he helps cover state government, the Legislature, state Supreme Court and southeast Nebraska.

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