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Norton appeals fine in simple assault case

January 5, 2012

The driver who hit a local cyclist last May, causing a number of broken bones and a brain injury, is appealing her guilty verdict and $50 fine.

Robbie Norton was found guilty of simple assault with a deadly weapon by the Clay County Justice Court in November for her role in the May 22, 2011 accident that left cyclist Jan Morgan critically injured.

Morgan and her friend Kim Richardson were on a training ride that morning when Norton’s car struck Morgan’s bicycle from behind, sending her flying. Morgan’s body landed on the hood of the car and slid to the ground, landing near the passenger-side tire.

Witnesses testified Norton was panicking when she got back into her car and in an attempt to move the car out of the way, ran Morgan over and stopped with the wheel still on Morgan’s head.

Monica Jones, who was driving behind Norton at the time of the accident, said she and her husband had to scream at Norton to get her to back the car off Morgan’s body. Jones said Norton tried to move the car again, but she was forced from the car by witnesses.

Following the accident, Morgan spent two months in the hospital fighting for her life after she suffered a massive head injury and a number of broken bones. She has been through months of physical therapy and still deals with the effects of the brain injury.

District Attorney Forrest Allgood could not find any felony laws broken in the case, so he could not press charges against Norton. Morgan decided to press misdemeanor charges to find justice.

In his ruling, Judge Joe Taggart said he didn’t believe the accident was intentional but she acted negligently. He said the situation was preventable and “unless there was a car coming the other way or her brakes didn’t work,” the accident shouldn’t have happened.

Taggart went on to say he didn’t believe a penalty was justified in the case and fined Norton $50 plus court fees.

Marty Haub, Norton’s attorney, said they would appeal the verdict.
A new trial is scheduled for April 2.

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