Trial begins for trucker in fatal accident
A trial began Monday in Douglas County District Court in the case of a 47-year-old Dallas Trucker, Yan R. McHenry, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in the fatal car-semi tractor trailer accident April 13 that killed Shawn M. Trager, 19, a Baker University student.
The accident happened on U.S. Highway 56 just east of Baldwin City near East 1900 Road. Trager was a passenger in a car driven by Andrew Potts, another Baker student. Also injured in the accident was Aaron Trager, Shawn's 21-year-old brother and also a Baker student. Both vehicles were westbound when the accident occurred.
Early testimony centered on whether McHenry could avoid the accident or if he was driving under the influence of cocaine.
A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper testified that McHenry tested positive for cocaine after the wreck. Trooper Chris Turner said McHenry admitted using cocaine the day before the accident and that tests he conducted on the Texas man showed he was not capable of driving safely.
McHenry's attorney, Jim George, told the Douglas County jury in opening statements that it was an unavoidable accident. George said his client couldn't keep from hitting the car after it stopped while headed westbound into Baldwin.
A KHP trooper also testified that McHenry violated federal regulations by failing to keep daily logs for days before the fatal accident.
Both Tragers played football at Baker University. Aaron Trager continues to play and testified Monday at the trial that he can't remember details of the accident. Potts couldn't testify in the trial because he was injured in another fatality accident. His testimony from the preliminary hearing was read to the jurors.
The trial continued Wednesday and it was unknown at press time when it would go to jury deliberation. The Signal will update the story on its Web site, www.baldwincity.com.