Nevada County manslaughter case ends with sentencings |

Nevada County manslaughter case ends with sentencings

A 2016 Nevada County manslaughter case has resulted in two men pleading no contest to the allegations, prosecutors said.

Authorities had accused Terry Cordell, 62, and Steven Sipe, 58, in connection with the February 2016 death of Wesley Guthrie, 32. Guthrie died after he was crushed by an overturned trailer and backhoe on Highway 49, near Nishinam Gulch Road.

Cordell and Sipe pleaded no contest to their accusations this year. Superior Court Judge Linda Sloven sentenced both to under a year in jail, followed by probation and community service, Deputy District Attorney Casey Ayer said in an email.

Sipe was booked Wednesday into the Nevada County Jail. Cordell’s sentence hasn’t yet begun, authorities said.

“All along the People asked for the maximum, one year in custody for each defendant,” Ayer said. “The People are satisfied, though, that each defendant will be on probation and have to give back to the community by way of community service.”

The Nevada County Public Defender’s Office represented Cordell. Pubic Defender Keri Klein was out of the office Friday, and unavailable for comment. Sipe’s attorney, David Fischer, couldn’t be reached for comment.


Prosecutors charged Cordell, who was towing the backhoe that fell on Guthrie, with vehicular manslaughter, being unlicensed to drive his vehicle and driving at an unsafe speed, court records state.

Sipe, who authorized Cordell to drive the vehicle, faced charges of involuntary manslaughter and knowingly permitting out-of-class driving, records state.

Sipe in March pleaded no contest to all his charges and infractions. Cordell on July 12 pleaded no contest to his accusations, Ayer and records state.

Sloven on Tuesday sentenced Cordell to 180 days in jail, 60 hours of community service and three years’ probation, Ayer said.

Alternative sentencing is a possibility for Cordell, though he must apply for it, Ayer said.

An example of alternative sentencing is serving weekends only.

“He will have to do time behind bars either way,” Ayer said.

The judge in May sentenced Sipe to 270 days in jail, 100 hours of community service and three years’ probation, Ayer said. He began serving his sentence on Wednesday.

To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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