Coulter Mann convicted on first count

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Jurorson Thursdayafternoon found former Crescent Elk assistant principal Coulter Mann guilty of driving under the influence during a fatal crash in 2012.

The former assistant principal of Crescent Elk Middle School was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury. Jurors will return to the courthouse today to continue deliberations on the second count Mann is facing: driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol count of .08 or higher with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury.

On Dec. 21, 2012, Mann was driving his GMC Sierra northbound on U.S. Highway 101 south of Smith River when he drifted into the southbound lane, nearly striking another truck before colliding head-on with a Ford Focus driven by 67-year-old Kenneth Jones of Klamath. Jones died at the scene.

Mann was going home after drinking at a party with several other school administrators. Jones was heading to Crescent City from a poker tournament at Lucky 7 Casino.

"We've been on pins and needles waiting," said Luella Jones, partner of Kenneth Jones, outside of the Del Norte Superior courtroom in Crescent City. "We can smile."

Mann, who registered a BAC of .20 about two hours after the crash, was represented by his father, Ed Mann and another attorney. The defense contended that the crash rapidly increased his BAC because stomach trauma shifted all of the contents from his stomach to his small intestines, where a majority of alcohol enters the bloodstream.

The District Attorney's Office argued Mann drank too much at the party and made a decision to drive toward his home in Brookings, which ultimately cost Jones his life.

Reach Anthony Skeens ataskeens@triplicate.com . Follow him at twitter.com/anthony_skeens.

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