Defense probing deadly Highway 95 accident

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SANDPOINT — A pretrial conference in a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter case was postponed Friday so the defense can conduct a crash reconstruction investigation.

Another hearing date in Zachary Brandon Henager’s case is pending.

The charge against Henager stemmed from a sequence of crashes on U.S. Highway 95 in Cocolalla in January 2012.

Idaho State Police said Henager was southbound when he lost control of the Mazda coupe he was driving, crossed into the northbound lane and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer.

The stricken semi then veered out of control and slammed into a southbound tractor-trailer driven by James Mady, a 49-year-old from Creswell, Ore. Mady was fatally injured in the collision.

Henager, 24, of Moody, Texas, and the driver of the northbound semi, Richard Walston, 58, of Colville, Wash., were seriously injured in the crashes.

Henager was charged at the misdemeanor level because he was not intoxicated or driving so recklessly to warrant a felony charge. He’s accused of driving imprudently on the snow-clogged highway, either by traveling too fast for conditions, being inattentive or having unsafe tires, according to court documents.

Henager pleaded not guilty, clearing the way for a trial in the magistrate division of 1st District Court.

A suspect in an another deadly crash on U.S. 95 in 2011 is still wanted for arrest for failing to at his misdemeanor trial in magistrate court last year, according to court records.

Taj Patrick LeCompte, 43, of Elton, La., is also charged with vehicular manslaughter at the misdemeanor level.

State police said LeCompte was driving southbound when he turned into the path of a northbound motorcyclist in the fall of 2011. The crash happened while LeCompte was attempting to turn left onto Bottle Bay Road.

The motorcyclist, Lawrence “Red” Barber, 60, of Twin Falls, died at a Seattle hospital 10 days after the crash.

LeCompte was also charged at the misdemeanor level because he was not intoxicated or driving in an aggressively reckless manner.

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