Note: This story was last updated at 4:20 p.m.
CLINTON—An Anderson County jury on Wednesday found an Oak Ridge resident guilty of criminally negligent homicide after a fatal car-motorcycle crash on North Illinois Avenue more than two years ago.
The jury of 10 men and two women deliberated about three hours before reaching its unanimous verdict at the end of a two-day trial of Noelle Leigh Patty, 41, in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton.
Patty was found not guilty of a second count, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, but the jury did find her guilty of what is known as a lesser included offense, a charge of reckless endangerment.
Patty was convicted of the two charges in the death of motorcyclist Rufus E. Shephard III, 44, of Oak Ridge.
“They finally got my brother some justice,” said Linda Shephard, after family members had exchanged hugs and tears with prosecutors and police officers.
Patty has a sentencing hearing set for September 28 in Anderson County Criminal Court.
The fatal crash occurred between a Cadillac STS car and Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle on Sunday evening, January 31, 2016, at the western exit of the Westcott Center, the Kroger shopping center. Authorities said Patty, who was driving the Cadillac, made an improper left turn from a right-turn-only lane at that exit, and she failed to yield to Shephard, who was riding the motorcycle north on North Illinois Avenue. Shephard died after he collided with the car, which was turning south in “the pathway of northbound traffic,” Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Chris Luethge said in arrest warrants filed after the crash.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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