Vice-principal charged in fatal crash

By Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate January 28, 2013 06:57 pm

Coulter Mann had been at party before the head-on collision

A local assistant principal is facing criminal charges in connection with an alcohol-related wreck that killed a Klamath man in December.

On Friday, District Attorney Jon Alexander filed charges against  Coulter E. Mann, 32, a Brookings resident and assistant principal of Crescent Elk Middle School.

On Dec. 21 at 8:54 p.m., Mann was driving his 2003 GMC Sierra north on U.S. Highway 101 near the intersection of Fred Haight Drive when his SUV veered into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a 2005 Ford Focus driven by Kenneth G. Jones, 67, of Klamath, around 8:54 p.m., authorities said.

Jones died instantly and Mann was injured.

The charges include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a  blood alcohol content of .08 or above with an injury including a special allegation of registering a BAC over .15 and failing to drive on the correct side of the roadway .

Alexander said an investigation indicates that brakes were not applied by Mann prior to the collision. Both vehicles were going about 55 mph, authorities said.

Officers suspect Mann fell asleep at the wheel, Alexander said, adding that Mann registered a blood-alcohol count of .20.

Alexander, citing police reports, stated Mann had been attending a Christmas party. The collision occurred a few hours after the last day of school before the holiday vacation.

Mann is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case, school Superintendent Don Olson said Friday.

“We want to assure the public that the district will take all of the necessary steps to ensure that we act within the law as it may relate to Mr. Mann’s employment and we will do this with compassion for the families affected,” said Olson.

Schoolteachers or administrators convicted of a felony lose their credential necessary to hold a position in the educational field, Olson said.

“Words can’t express the pain we feel for all of the families involved,” said Olson. “I thought the world of Coulter and I knew the other family. I taught Mr. Jones’ daughter at Bess Maxwell. Kenny Jones and his wife were frequent parent volunteers.”

Mann is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 26.

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