Jury Deadlocks in Negligent Homicide Case

By Beacon Staff

A jury declared itself deadlocked Thursday in the trial of an Evergreen man accused of driving drunk and causing a 2006 crash that killed a motorcycle rider.

Terry Dean Miller, 45, was charged with negligent homicide in the death of 40-year-old David McCann of Oceanside, Calif.

The jury found Miller guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failure to remain at the scene of a fatal accident. Miller, who spent about seven months in the Flathead County Detention Center while awaiting trial, faces up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine when he is sentenced July 3.

“I think we all felt there was a very good chance he was drinking when the accident occurred, but there wasn’t enough state’s evidence to prove that,” juror Amy Tag said.

The Montana Highway Patrol says Miller and passenger Craig Bailey were traveling west on U.S. Highway 2 the night of Aug. 11, 2006. At the intersection with Montana 40, Miller turned left in front of McCann’s motorcycle. The motorcycle struck the car’s passenger side at highway speeds and McCann died at the scene.

Prosecutors said Miller failed to yield the right of way and fled because he had been drinking. Millers blood-alcohol level measured 0.13, almost twice the legal limit for driving, when he was tested four hours after the crash.

But defense attorneys said Bailey, because he had a warrant out for his arrest, held a knife to Miller’s throat when he turned back to check on McCann and forced him to leave the scene, allegedly telling Miller, “I’m not going back to prison.”

Miller said he only started drinking after he dropped Bailey off at his Evergreen home.

Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said he would speak with jurors and McCann’s family before he decides whether to retry Miller.

“I have not closed the door to trying this again if we can put the case back together,” he said.