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D.A. says no felony charges in Morgan case

June 22, 2011

By CARL SMITH
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Felony charges are not expected to be filed against the person who struck Jan Morgan with her vehicle while Morgan was biking on May 22.
On Wednesday, District 16 District Attorney Forrest Allgood said he spoke with Morgan’s husband David about the situation. While Allgood said he told Morgan no felony charges apply to this situation, he also told Starkville Daily News misdemeanor charges could be filed, but he was not aware of any being filed yet.
Allgood said when dealing with situations involving automobile accidents and injuries, three situations would warrant felony charges: aggravated DUI, aggravated assault with high negligence and fleeing a scene with injuries.
Since the motorist who struck Morgan, Robbie Norton, of Cedarbluff, was not drinking, Allgood said aggravated DUI charges were not applicable. In regard to a potential aggravated assault charge, he said evidence associated with Norton’s negligence did not cross a certain threshold.
“The highway patrol brought the [case] file to me, and there was no evidence of weaving, speeding or running stop signs,” Allgood said. “That doesn’t rise to that level of negligence. If there was a combination of those, maybe so.”
A copy of the accident report from the May 22 incident was posted to David Morgan’s blog — http://www.getwelljan.blogspot.com — and said after the driver of the vehicle hit his wife, “The driver of V1 exited the vehicle and ran the cyclist over again before being forced from her vehicle by a witness.”
Allgood said statements from witnesses he’s seen say the driver got back into the car not to flee, but to move the it out of the way.
“A witness said she was easing the car over; she just didn’t see her laying there,” he said. “It’s not like she got back in the car, pushed the accelerator down and tried to run her over on purpose. It was an awful accident.”
On Monday, David Morgan posted his reaction to his conversation with Allgood on the blog. In the post, he said Allgood told him felony charges would not be filed and if anyone could produce written state law applying to this situation, he would use it.
“I used to tell people all people over the world that Mississippi was a good place to live. Jan and I were going to leave the state 5 years ago. I wish we had,” Morgan said in his post. “I no longer have any confidence in the judicial system of this state. ... my simple and obviously emotional ... interpretation says that my wife’s life is only worth $500 or 6 months.”
When Allgood confirmed he spoke with David Morgan, he would not go into the exact specifics of Morgan’s reaction.
“People don’t understand my job. I can’t wave a magic wand and make everything OK,” Allgood said. “I take an oath to enforce law as law exists. The only people that can change the law is the legislature.”

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