Trial of Concord woman accused of negligent homicide in teacher's death ends in hung jury
CONCORD - The trial of a young Concord woman accused of negligent homicide in the death of retired teacher Michael Phelps has ended in a hung jury.
The Concord Monitor reported jurors were unable to reach a verdict Tuesday after several hours of deliberation, but prosecutors are vowing to retry the case.
The driver, Jordan Heath, 24, faced one Class B felony count of negligent homicide. She claims her brakes gave out as she approached a busy intersection in Allenstown on June 30, 2014, leaving her helpless as her Ford Focus blew through a red light and broadsided Phelps, who was turning left on his motorcycle. He died later that day.
Heath’s defense had planned to call a crash expert who reviewed the evidence and determined that the Focus, which she was borrowing from her mother’s boyfriend, had a mechanical defect. The rear brakes were leaking brake fluid and would never have passed inspection, according to attorney Hanna Kinne.
Waldron disputed the finding and said Heath never tried to stop. He noted that Heath had used the brakes earlier in the day and presented testimony from one witness who claimed she never saw Heath’s rear brake lights flash as she went through the intersection.
Waldron said he planned to interview jurors when their names are released in 30 days.
Phelps was a cancer survivor and a former teacher at Rundlett Middle School and Concord High School.