Guilty verdict reached in DUI death case
WILLIAMSON - The trial of Josh Miller, the defendant who had been indicted on reckless DUI causing death and reckless DUI causing bodily injury concluded Thursday evening, as the jury returned a guilty verdict against the young man.
Miller was found guilty of the felony count of reckless DUI causing the death of Adam York and of the lesser charge (misdemeanor) of DUI causing bodily injury to Zachary Smith, two of his close friends who were out with the defendant the night of October 13, 2011, when they were involved in a one-vehicle accident that took the life of York and left Smith with life-threatening injuries. A fourth passenger, Paul David Howard, Jr. was also in the vehicle, but left the scene following the accident before emergency personnel arrived.
Miller was taken into custody by the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department following the accident, and was charged with DUI. Miller’s breathalyzer test produced results of .216, more than twice the legal limit.
A third charge of reckless DUI causing bodily injury had been filed against Miller pertaining to alleged injuries Howard claimed to have suffered, but that charge was dismissed during Wednesday’s court proceedings after a motion was filed by the defense attorney stating there was no definite proof to substantiate Howard’s claim.
The trial was a very emotional time for the families of both York and Miller, as testimonies were given that left those in the courtroom wondering what the verdict would be. Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks represented the state, while Logan Attorney and former prosecutor Brian Abraham was legal counsel for Miller.
Throughout the trial, the defense claimed that Miller was not the driver of his 2010 Toyota Sequoia, saying that Howard was behind the wheel.
Abraham had several witnesses that testified to support that theory, but given the verdict, the jury apparently failed to believe that Miller was not responsible. The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before reaching their unanimous verdict in the case. The courtroom was full to capacity to hear whether or not Miller would be found guilty or innocent, with the family of York filling the entire right side.
Miller, who was a corrections officer with the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden at the time of his accident, was remanded to the custody of his former employer, pending his sentence hearing on October 15 at 9 a.m. The defendant had been on home confinement since he was indicted on the charges in April of this year.
Miller’s mother was extremely distraught following the reading of the verdict, and clung to her son before he was taken into custody.
“No one wins here tonight,” said Thelma Patrick, who has set through the two-day trial. “The York family lost their son and will never have the pleasure of seeing him grow up, Zach Smith will suffer from his injuries for the rest of his life, and Josh Miller’s future will never be the same and now, at least for a period of time, his parents have also lost a son.
“They were all friends, they went out with each other countless of times. They were all willing participants when they got in the vehicle and traveled to the bar in Logan. Everyone was there of their own free will.
“This is indeed a sad time for all the parties involved.”
A detailed 2-3 part series on the events of the trial will be published in future editions of the Williamson Daily News.
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