Vehicular homicide trial centers on condition of Mike Padgett Highway construction zone

Testimony during the second day of a vehicular homicide trial Tuesday centered on what witnesses described as a confusing construction zone.

Bill Danes, 45, of Jackson, Ga., died instantly after he was hit by a pickup June 11, 2009, while standing outside his dump truck during an asphalt delivery on Mike Padgett Highway. Police named Charles Oglesby as the pickup’s driver and charged him with vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Oglesby’s attorney, Jacques Hawk, brought several people to court Tuesday to testify about the conditions they met in 2009 while driving through the repaving project in the highway’s 4200 block. Diagrams presented as evidence show that orange traffic barrels were placed along the center lines of both lanes of traffic on the four-lane highway. Ostensibly, the outside lanes of both northbound and southbound traffic were closed, but witnesses said there were no signs telling motorists where to drive.

Tonya Malcom said she was returning from a Little League meeting around 10:30 p.m. June 9 when she nearly collided with an oncoming vehicle. She placed a 911 call immediately afterward, which Hawk replayed for the jury. On the tape, Malcom tells the dispatcher a police officer is needed to direct traffic because there are no signs or visual warnings about the construction site.

“Someone’s going to get hit,” Malcom said.

When questioned by Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine, the witnesses said they slowed down during subsequent trips through the construction zone because they knew what conditions to expect. At the time of the wreck, Oglesby traveled through the construction zone several times a week to get to work.

Hawk is expected to bring two expert witnesses to court Wednesday to testify about driving in the poor lighting conditions.

Jury hears case of Waynesboro man accused of vehicular homicide, DUI
Trucker is killed when he's struck by pickup

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