Mr. Shire, a commercial truck driver, was charged with Negligent Homicide and Aggravated Reckless Driving. Attorney Dickson built such a rapport with Mr. Shire and his family that he was also asked to assist with the civil case. (Morton County 2022) Case Dismissed.
Charges dismissed in fatal Morton crash; civil lawsuit proceeding.
A judge at the request of a prosecutor has dismissed charges against a semitrailer driver involved in a fatal Morton County crash about a year ago.
South Central District Judge Pamela Nesvig’s ruling, signed Monday, comes about two weeks after she denied a pretrial diversion agreement that would have placed Hashi Shire, 37, of Richfield, Minnesota, on probation for a year. Charges of negligent homicide and aggravated reckless driving were to be dismissed if he stayed out of trouble during that time.
Antonina Walden, whose husband, Scott Walden, died a week after the March 2022 crash, had urged Nesvig in a letter not to approve the pretrial agreement.
Walden told the Tribune she was not informed that Morton County State’s Attorney Allen Koppy would move for dismissal of the charges but had been bracing for the possibility.
“We’re all very disappointed that this is the route he has chosen to take,” Walden said. “It’s heartbreaking and an insult to Scott and our entire family.”
Koppy in a motion to dismiss said there were concerns about proving that Shire’s actions “constituted a gross deviation for acceptable standards of conduct,” which he said is needed to prove guilt on a charge of negligent homicide. An accident reconstruction report from the North Dakota Highway Patrol also did not show Shire acted “recklessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others,” to prove the aggravated reckless driving charge, the motion stated.
The proposed pretrial agreement stated in part that Shire conceded “There is a substantial likelihood that a conviction could be obtained.
”But Koppy noted the accident reconstruction report stated I-94 “was extremely icy and there was very little that either driver could do at or near the scene of the crash.” The report showed the Walden vehicle “was likely sliding on wet ice” and slowed by a few miles per hour during the 2 ½ seconds of braking before the crash. It was traveling between 45 and 56 mph when the crash occurred.
Shire in the 2 miles before the crash slowed from 63 mph to 52 mph and lost control when he moved from the left lane to the right lane, the motion states.
Shire and his co-driver had earlier stopped at a rest area 18 miles west of the crash site, and surveillance video shows it was not raining there, the motion states. There were no Department of Transportation travel alerts at that time, and none was issued until five hours after the crash, Koppy said. The National Weather Service issued an urgent alert for freezing rain 12 minutes after the crash.
The Patrol in an affidavit filed after the crash said Shire “drove without due caution and at a speed to endanger a person.” He was aware of the dangerous driving conditions but was distracted by a conversation with a passenger in the truck, authorities said. He was charged last may.
Tom Dickson, Shire’s attorney, said in a statement to the Tribune that he was “grateful for the state’s decision” to dismiss the charges.
“This was an accident caused by rapidly deteriorating road conditions and bad weather. Sometimes accidents happen. An unfortunate tragedy is not always a crime. So too, with this case,” Dickson said.
Walden has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court seeking unspecified money damages from Shire, his employer and semi owner AJ Logistics, and FedEx Groud Package System, owner of the trailers being pulled by the semi. The defendants in their response to the lawsuit deny all claims.
By Travis Svihovec (Bismarck Tribune)
Mr. Woodbury was charged with Driving Under the Influence (Class B Misdemeanor). (Lincoln Municipal) Case Dismissed.
Mr. West was charged with Violation of Order Prohibiting Contact (Class A Misdemeanor). (Emmons County 2022) Case Dismissed.
Ms. Mountain was charged with Theft of Property (Class C Felony). (Mountrail County 2021) Case Dismissed.