Stephens indicted for vehicular homicide

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

The driver whose vehicle struck and killed a Department of Transportation flagman has been indicted by a Pike County grand jury on a charge of vehicular homicide.

Camden Michelle Stephens, 19, of Luverne was arrested at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and was later released after posting bond. She is charged in the death of Hobi Wade Hussey of Elba.

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Hussey working on U.S. Highway 29 on Dec. 14, 2011, when he was stricken by the vehicle driven by Stephens. Hussey died Dec. 26, 2011, as a result of injuries suffered in the crash.

According to District Attorney Tom Anderson, Hussey was exactly where he was supposed to be on duty, holding a sign towards oncoming traffic that read “stop” when he was struck by the vehicle and thrown more than 80 feet. “We don’t believe there is any evidence of braking until Mr. Hussey was struck,” Anderson said. “We strongly believe distracted driving was a factor and that (Stephens) was sending or receiving text messages at the time of the incident.”

Anderson said the portion of U.S. Highway 29 where Hussey was struck was a designated construction zone, marked by pylons and safety cones indicating workers were present, as well as heavy machinery on road shoulders and entering and leaving the highway. He said the type of traffic sign Hussey was holding at the time carries the same rules and regulations as a posted stop sign.

“It’s clear she was not driving safely enough in a clearly designated construction zone,” Anderson said. “In these situations, drivers need to slow down and be aware of their surroundings. These zones have risks that you don’t usually encounter. Also, speeding fines are doubled in these areas.”

If convicted, vehicular homicide carries a penalty of one to five years in prison and a monetary fine ranging from $500 to $2,000.

Stephens is scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. on Aug. 31 at the Pike County courthouse.