A judge dismissed all the charges against a truck driver who was involved in a fatal crash in 2019 on Route 24 in Bel Air, Maryland.
On April 28 Judge Mickey Norman dismissed two counts each of gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle and criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle against 51-year-old Carloo Everton Watson.
The crash that took place on March 11, 2019, resulted in two deaths after a ShopRite tractor-trailer driven by Watson crashed into a line of traffic stopped at the red light on Route 24 and Ring Factory Road, south of Bel Air.
According to Norman, the Maryland State Police investigation into the crash was not as thorough as it could have been and the state had not met the burden of proof to convict Watson.
“If you as a police officer are going to conduct an investigation,” Norman allegedly said to the Baltimore Sun “pardon my French, but you do not want to do a half-ass investigation.”
Norman reviewed over 100 pieces of evidence throughout the trial before making the decision to dismiss all charges.
During the first day of the trial, a witness stated that she had seen a Shop-Rite trailer swerving while on her way to work the day of the accident. Prosecutors suggested it was Watson, even though the witness did not see the driver, who was not able to control the vehicle properly because he was tired and should not have been driving.
The judge said that it was just as likely for Watson to have swerved to avoid hitting an object in the road.
Norman said the state failed to prove that the defendant had not gotten enough sleep in the days before the accident and failed to prove that the defendant was using a cellphone during the accident. Video footage showed Waton’s tractor-trailer operating without any troubles and that Watson was using a Bluetooth headset.
Norman also said investigators should have interviewed Watson, who offered to speak to them immediately after the crash, and that investigators failed to look for evidence at the Shop-Rite store in Forest Hill.
Watson’s attorney, Brian Thompson said judgments of acquittal like Wednesdays are rare and that he has only seen it a couple of times in over two decades of practicing law.
“If I could move heaven and Earth to make them better and bring them back, I would,” Watson said after the conclusion of the trial. “I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”