New charges in boy’s death
A new round of criminal charges will be filed against the driver accused of fatally colliding with a boy riding a motorcycle.
“We have looked at it carefully and we think that’s the right thing to do at this time,” Deputy District Attorney Dave Walters said Wednesday.
Last month, Nevada County Judge Robert Tamietti lowered the severity of a vehicular manslaughter charge against Dale Traylor, who is accused of lethally colliding with 9-year-old Tyler Lason last April.
Lason was riding his Honda motorcycle April 10 near his home on Creek View Drive. Traylor, 42, was driving a Chevrolet Blazer in the opposite direction on the same side of the road as the boy, according to authorities. At the crest of a hill, the two collided, killing Lason. A California Highway Patrol report blamed the crash on Traylor because he was driving in the same lane as the boy.
Traylor was at first charged with felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. A maximum prison sentence for a conviction of that charge is six years, Walters said.
Tamietti changed the charge from a felony to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, and the judge reduced the charge from “gross negligence” to just “negligence.” A maximum sentence for a conviction on that charge is one year in jail and probation.
The prosecutor said the misdemeanor charge is too light, and he decided to drop and refile the case as a felony. This can only be done once, he said. By re-filing, the case might go to another judge who has a different opinion on Traylor’s responsibility for the boy’s death.
To ensure this, Walters said, he has a tool – a veto.
“We have the right to disqualify one judge, if we so choose,” he said. “But you can’t choose the judge you want.”
He will file the case in the coming weeks, he said.
Walters said he could not get into the specifics of his case, but did say that if a judge again decides to lower the felony to a misdemeanor, he will have several courses of action – such as filing an appeal.
“If it gets to that point, I would have to make a decision,” Walters said.
The charges may be slightly different this time around, and the prosecutor said he is looking at the possibility of adding another charge, a misdemeanor. He did not say which charge he is thinking of adding.
The original vehicular manslaughter charge will stay, however.
“We want to look at all of the evidence carefully,” he said.
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