The North Carolina Highway patrol announced this week that the grand jury indicted Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Mitchell on one count of misdemeanor death by vehicle. The indictment was handed down on Monday, just about three months following a fatal crash that occurred along Highway 64 which resulted in the death of 66 year-old James Baggott.
Baggott was an inmate at the time of the accident, although he was being transported in the Macon County Detention Center Transport Vehicle.
Mitchell was traveling west on US 64 when he travelled off the road to the right, overturned several times and came to a rest on all four tires. Both Mitchell and his passenger were transported to Angel Hospital in Franklin with serious injuries. Baggott later succumbed to his injuries.
Initial reports from the highway patrol revealed that although there was severe weather at the time of the accident which contributed to the vehicle hydroplaning, Mitchell was also travelling at excessive speeds when the accident occurred on Feb. 12 just after 4 p.m. According to a report filed by State Trooper J.L. Beaver, Mitchell was traveling about 80 miles per hour. The stretch of U.S. 64 near Franklin where the wreck happened has a 55 mph speed limit.
The law in the state of North Carolina states that an individual will face a misdemeanor death by vehicle charge if:
“He or she unintentionally causes the death of another person while violating a state law or local ordinance pertaining to the operation of the motor vehicle, such as speeding, failing to stop or yield, and the violation is the proximate cause of death.”
In North Carolina, misdemeanor death by vehicle is considered a class 1A misdemeanor and can carry a sentence of 150 days behind bars and a significant fine.
Mitchell’s first court appearance is scheduled for June 24, in Macon County Superior Court.