Man found not guilty in 2009 homicide

By Rick Hagen NBC News correspondent (needs backend)

By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register

Gainesville —

A man indicted on two counts of homicide in 2009 — and re-indicted for the crimes in January — was found not guilty Thursday.

Defense attorney Cary Piel said Randy Crume was found not guilty in the state jail felony charges of criminally negligent homicide related to the vehicle collision deaths of Casey and Gervious Hinkle on July 5, 2009, near Valley View.

Piel said evidence was lacking that Crume’s actions at the scene met the criteria of “gross deviation” from the law.

“The exact law is that of a gross deviation from the standard of care that people do,” he said Thursday. “They found him not guilty of doing that. There was no alcohol and no drugs.”

District court documents and prior Register stories explained at the time of the incident, Crume, a resident of Harrah, Okla., was approaching a traffic jam in the northbound lane of Interstate 35 while driving a semi-tractor trailer truck.

He allegedly failed to control the speed of his vehicle and it slammed into several others, injuring seven people and killing driver Gervious Hinkle and 13-year-old grandson Casey as they sat in a 1996 Ford Explorer.

Cooke County Assistant District Attorney Ron Poole explained in January that the case entered re-indictment since some of its legal verbiage needed to be expanded. Instead of simply being accused of failure to maintain control of his vehicle, as was the 2009 charge, Crume also later faced accusations of failure to control speed, failure to keep a proper lookout and failure to apply his vehicle brakes.

Following the January reindictment, Crume faced a jail term of between 180 days and two years, though Poole said he has been free on bail since the incident.

The 2009 Register story included speculation that the traffic jam at the scene — which had resulted from an ongoing Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) roadwork project — was a partial factor in the wreck and deaths.

But Poole denied this in January, adding that Crume’s defense couldn’t blame the roadwork with any validity, since caution signs had been properly mounted along the interstate for drivers to see.

“You can’t blame what you’re warned about,” he said in January.

Poole said Thursday he felt the jury deliberated fairly, but declined to comment on their ultimate verdict.

“A jury makes a decision and we accept it,” he said.