Trial nears in vehicular manslaughter case

SANDPOINT — No additional pretrial developments were reported Friday in the case against a Louisiana man charged with vehicular manslaughter, clearing the way for him to be tried next month.

Taj Patrick LeCompte is scheduled to be tried in Bonner County Magistrate Court on Dec. 29.

Idaho State Police said LeCompte was southbound on U.S. Highway 95 and turned into the path of a northbound motorcyclist while attempting to turn off onto Bottle Bay Road.

Lawrence “Red” Barber, 60, was gravely injured in the Sept. 8, 2011, collision and died 10 days later at a Seattle hospital.

LeCompte was charged at the misdemeanor level because he was not driving recklessly or intoxicated at the time of the crash. LeCompte was working for Railroad Controls Ltd., which was doing railway work in Sagle at the time.

Barber in town visiting aficionados of the Suzuki Cavalcade, a luxury touring bike with a devoted following.

LeCompte pleaded not guilty to the offense.

The case against LeCompte has been continued at least four times since it was filed due to ongoing plea negotiations, out-of-state civil proceedings against LeCompte over the crash and other issues.

Judge Debra Heise advised Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Roger Hanlon and Chief Deputy Public Defender Janet Whitney during a pretrial conference that she doubts she would grant another continuance if one was proposed.

LeCompte has been free on his own recognizance while the case is pending.

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