A Delaware County man has been charged in the death of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation supervisor who was struck by a vehicle in a work zone in May.
JAY — A Delaware County man has been charged in the death of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation supervisor who was struck by a vehicle in a Delaware County work zone in May.
Robert Dryden Smith, 38, of Jay was charged with manslaughter Friday in Delaware County District Court in the May 18 death of Jarrell Gray. He is accused of looking at his cell phone minutes before he ran off Oklahoma 20 west of Jay, killing the 47-year-old Gray.
Smith is free on $50,000 bail, the Delaware County Sheriff’s office confirmed Monday.
Gray, who was a transportation superintendent in Delaware County for ODOT, was supervising a brush removal project in a construction zone. Smith admitted to law enforcement at the scene he had been distracted from driving and watching the road because he was looking down at his cellphone while westbound on the highway, according to a probable cause affidavit.
After colliding with a Department of Corrections inmate work van, Smith’s vehicle left the roadway and struck Gray, who had been standing behind a wood chipper that was attached to an ODOT truck, the affidavit states.
In a follow-up interview, Smith said he “had not been paying attention to the road while he was driving because he was focused on trying to silence or turn off his cellphone because it kept making noises like it wasn’t staying connected to the charger,” the affidavit states.
Smith said he reached down to power the phone off and that he didn’t make any phone calls or send any texts prior to the accident. Smith said he could not regain control of the vehicle after hitting the van.
Gray was the father of three sons and had been with ODOT since December 1998.
Smith was convicted of Arson in Logan County in 2013 and was sentenced to 15 years. However, the entire term was suspended except for one year which was served in the Logan County Jail, said Nick Lelecas, assistant district attorney.