CLAREMORE - A Delaware County commissioner pleaded no contest to a negligent homicide charge and received an 18-month deferred sentence, Rogers County District Attorney Gene Haynes said Wednesday.
Kenneth A. Crowder, 60, of Grove was charged in Delaware County District Court in Jay with the misdemeanor charge in the August 24 death of James L. Black.
Haynes was assigned the case after Delaware County District Attorney Eddie Wyant asked for another prosecutor be appointed.
“We could not reach a plea agreement so he (Crowder) entered a cold plea,” Haynes said.
Crowder will remain on probation for the duration of the deferred sentence. If he doesn't get a conviction during his probation the charge will be expunged, Haynes said.
Crowder is also required to perform 120 hours of community service in Rogers County. He has been fined $1,000 and his driving is restricted only to daylight hours for the next six months, he said.
Crowder's probation and community service hours will be supervised by Haynes' office.
Tanna Black gave an emotional victim's impact statement on how her husband's death has affected the family, especially the children, Haynes said.
Tanna didn't want Crowder to go to jail, but the family did want a conviction, he said. During the hearing, Crowder gave a sincere apology to the Black family, Haynes said.
Black, 49, was traveling north on Oklahoma Highway 10 when a a truck driven by Crowder pulled into his path about 5:40 a.m., according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.
Black, of Jay, was thrown from his motorcycle and pinned under the pickup for about 20 minutes. He was flown to a Joplin, Mo., hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The patrol reported that Crowder pulled from a side road onto the highway from the west, into Black's path. The cause of the accident was Crowder's “failure to yield right-of-way,” the patrol reported.
In a related matter, Black's family filed a civil suit against Crowder. Court records show an order was also filed approving a $500,000 settlement in exchange for full release of all claims against Crowder.