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DAVID ALLEN, attorney
DENNIS TINSMAN, defendant

Seattle Times, June 12, 1980


Hung jury in negligent homicide case

By Janet Horne
Times staff reporter

 

A King County Superior Court jury was excused yesterday afternoon when it could not agree on a verdict in the negligent-homicide trial of Dennis A. Tinsman of Federal Way.

Tinsman was charged with three counts of negligent homicide in connection with an unusual traffic accident that killed three persons and demolished two trucks last fall at an intersection on Pacific Highway South.

Prosecutors argued that Tinsman was to blame for the fatal collision because he was drunk when his pickup slammed broadside into a smaller truck at more than 80 miles an hour.

The defense maintained that the victims were far more intoxicated that night than Tinsman and were responsible for the accident because they drove their small Datsun pickup through a stop sign directly into Tinsman’s path.

The October 20 collision, which sent both trucks flying into the air, killed three Kent residents, David Callecod, 27; his wife, Sandra K. Callecod, 25, and her brother, Earl Tapp, 27.

Tinsman was hospitalized for two days with rib and facial injuries.

His lawyer, David Allen, said the victims, with David Callecod at the wheel, were crammed into the front seat of the Datsun and either failed to look to see if anyone was coming or were too drunk to notice before they pulled into the intersection at South 272nd Street.

Allen said the prosecution failed to prove that Tinsman was intoxicated and was driving too fast when the crash occurred. But even if that were true, Allen said, Tinsman would still be innocent because he had the right-of-way.

Deputy Prosecutor Philip Y. Killien countered that Tinsman, a former Navy frogman and mobile-home salesman, could have avoided the crash if he had been paying attention.

Killien accused Tinsman of barreling down Pacific Highway South in his “madbomb truck” in a way that was “totally out of control.”

“He was drunk and he didn’t care. He was laid back, kicked back and listening to Conway Twitty on the radio, and he was really trucking. That is why he didn’t see the Datsun,” the prosecutor said.

The hung jury was declared yesterday by Judge Carolyn Dimmick. Prosecutors will decide whether to retry the case.

 


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