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Prosecutor Defends Reduction In Charge

Reducing a charge in the May traffic death of Shoshone’s police chief was based on the facts in the case, a county prosecutor says.

“There’s an argument to be made for gross negligence (in the accident), but it would be very difficult to get a jury to rule in favor of it beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Jerome County Prosecutor John Horgan.

Shoshone Police Chief Chuck Cox, 44, died May 29 when his car was struck by a delivery truck driven by John Thomas Lane, 31, of Twin Falls. The vehicles collided when Lane’s truck swerved into the oncoming lane on U.S. Highway 93 north of Jerome, police said.

Last week, the charge against Lane was reduced from felony vehicular manslaughter to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

According to court documents, Lane told police he dropped his two-way radio microphone and swerved into the oncoming traffic when he reached over to pick it up. The sheriff’s department investigation also concluded Lane was speeding at the time.

Lane pleaded innocent to the felony count on May 30 in magistrate court and the case was assigned to 5th District Judge Daniel Meehl. But the prosecution and Lane’s attorney filed a joint motion last week to send the case back to magistrate court on a misdemeanor charge.

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