The trial for a Durango man charged with three counts of manslaughter in Oklahoma has been delayed after his attorney withdrew from the case earlier this week.
Noah DeDear was scheduled to stand trial June 10 on suspicion of causing the death of a woman and her two grandchildren. Authorities say DeDear failed to stop at a traffic stop on an interstate between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, causing the crash that killed three.
Defense attorney John Mac Hayes told The Durango Herald on Thursday that he filed a motion to withdraw from the case earlier this week, which was granted by the courts.
Hayes declined to comment about why he withdrew.
“Unfortunately, that’s what had to happen,” Hayes said.
Lincoln County (Oklahoma) District Attorney Allan Grubb did not return calls seeking comment.
Hayes said DeDear is seeking new counsel, which could considerably delay the case.
“I wish it could be over,” Hayes said of the case. “It’s a very horrible human tragedy. ... It’s a sad situation all around.”
Authorities say that on March 18, 2017, DeDear, who was then 17 years old, left New Mexico about 4 a.m. to visit relatives in Arkansas, traveling alone in his guardian’s 1999 Ford F-350 truck.
About 1:30 p.m., authorities say DeDear failed to stop on the Turner Turnpike (Interstate 44) between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, where traffic was at a standstill after smoke from a grass fire closed the highway.
According to police reports, DeDear crashed into the back of a 2008 Saab, pushing the vehicle into two vehicles in front of it.
Three people died in the 2008 Saab SUV: Linda Irie, 50, and her two grandchildren, Brooklyn Newville, 9, and Jace Newville, 5. A third child, who was their cousin, Isabelle Anthony, 6, survived.
Authorities in March 2018 decided to try DeDear – who was days away from his 18th birthday – as an adult. In January 2019, he entered a not guilty plea.
According to police records obtained by the Herald through an open records request, authorities suspect DeDear was distracted while driving.
A second-degree manslaughter charge can carry a sentence of two to four years in prison or up to one year in a county jail or a fine not to exceed $1,000, or both.