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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Driver acquitted after second trial for 2009 vehicular homicide case

In a painful moment of déjà vu for the victim’s family, a jury acquitted a Spokane stockbroker of vehicular homicide in a second trial Monday afternoon.

Jon A. Strine, 46, was found not guilty more than five years after he broadsided a motorcycle at the corner of West Fourth Avenue and South Browne Street on June 2, 2009, killing 48-year-old elementary school secretary Lorri Keller. The crash left her husband, Gary Keller, 61, paralyzed.

Strine’s first trial ended in a mistrial in 2011, when six jurors said they hadn’t agreed on the not-guilty verdict.

Lorri Keller’s daughter sat in court sobbing as the judge asked each juror whether they were in agreement with the new verdict. This time, all 12 said yes.

The jury deliberated for about four hours. In the 2011 mistrial, jurors spent two days deliberating.

A civil suit filed in the matter was settled out of court.

Prosecutors said Strine was driving with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit on the night of the crash. The defense contended the tests were unreliable and said the amount he drank would not have placed him over the legal limit.

After Strine’s 2011 mistrial, his lawyers challenged the prospect of a second trial, saying holding one would amount to double jeopardy. The Washington state Supreme Court, however, ruled Strine should be tried again.

Members of the Keller family, as well as Strine and his attorney, all declined to comment on the verdict.

Strine has had at least two prior arrests for drunken driving.

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