After successfully arguing for former assistant principal Coulter Mann to face gross vehicular manslaughter at his preliminary hearing, the District Attorney’s Office has reduced the charges.
Amended charges were submitted at a pre-trial court hearing on Thursday for Mann, who allegedly crashed his car into an oncoming car near Smith River, killing its driver, last December.
Mann allegedly registered a .2 blood alcohol content about two hours after the crash.
Mann previously faced gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with an enhancement of great bodily injury, driving at .08 BAC or above causing injury with two enhancements of excessive BAC and great bodily injury and failure to drive on the traveled portion of the roadway.
The District Attorney’s Office re-filed charges, dropping gross vehicular manslaughter. The former Crescent Elk Middle School assistant principal now faces charges of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with a great bodily injury enhancement and driving above .08 BAC or above causing injury with a great bodily injury enhancement.
“Based on our research we believed the amended information was required,” said acting District Attorney Katherine Micks in an interview with the Triplicate.
She declined to elaborate, citing its status as an ongoing case.
On Dec. 21, Mann left a house party hosted by Crescent Elk Principal Bill Hartwick, according to testimony given California Highway Patrol Officer Ted Luna during the preliminary hearing.
Mann was driving his 2003 GMC Sierra truck north on U.S. Highway 101 when at around 8:54 p.m. it veered fully into the southbound lane on U.S. Highway 101 before hitting a 2005 Ford Focus that 67-year-old Klamath resident Kenneth G. Jones was driving south of Fred Haight Drive, Luna had told the court.
Jones died at the scene.
Mann still faces a prison sentence with the reduced charges, Micks said.
A gross vehicular manslaughter conviction carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence and four-year minimum.
A person convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter could be released after serving half of his sentence with credits earned, Micks said.
A driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with a great bodily injury enhancement carries a maximum sentence of six years.
A person convicted of that crime would have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence with credits, Micks said.