Juror's Homework Sends Crash Case Off-Course

Evidence a juror found on the Internet results in a mistrial

A little Internet research has forced a Connecticut judge to declare a mistrial in the civil trial for a former school bus driver who was convicted for a crash that killed a pedestrian in 2006.

The case is about Robert Fountain, who was driving his bus in West Hartford in October of 2006 when he struck and killed Dean Carlson, 65, a 325-pound man who was walking to a bus stop from his home on South Quaker Lane in West Hartford, the Hartford Courant reports

Carlson was heading to AIDS Project Hartford, where he'd worked as a volunteer and outreach worker for 10 years, when Fountain struck him, the Courant reports.

In the criminal trial, Fountain was convicted of negligent homicide and served five days in jail. A friend of Carlson initiated the civil suit against Fountain and his former employer, Double A Transportation Inc. and attorneys had made open arguments blaming either Fountain's negligence or poor visibility for Carlson's death.

The problem with the civil case is that the juror found evidence on the Web that was released in the earlier criminal trial but was not divulged in the civil trial, according to a court document. What information the juror found is not known.

Jury selection for a new civil trial is scheduled for Dec. 1.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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