Manslaughter Charges Filed In 2013 Crash That Killed Hominy Couple
PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - An ex-convict who reportedly was driving under the influence of drugs in a head-on crash that killed a well-known Hominy couple was arrested on Thursday and charged in their deaths.
Rodney Dale Justus, 55, of Ralston, has been charged with two counts of first-degree manslaughter in connection with the July 26, 2013 collision in Pawnee County.
According to an affidavit, a blood kit detected several drugs in Justus' system.
Justus went left of center on U.S. Highway 64 near Cleveland about 5:30 p.m. on July 26, hitting a compact car driven by Linda Lou Edwards, 56, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
Edwards' husband of nearly 40 years, Glenn Edwards, 57, was a passenger. Both were pinned for two hours and pronounced dead at the scene as a result of massive injuries.
Justus was transported by Mercy Ambulance and was treated and released that evening, The Cleveland American reported. His passenger, Shawnda Robertson, 43, also of Ralston, was transported to a Tulsa hospital with leg and torso injuries, the newspaper said.
At the hospital, Justus told an investigating trooper he was headed to Tulsa when his vehicle made a loud "pop" and abruptly turned left into traffic, an affidavit says.
"The evidence at the scene did not match [Justus'] story," the trooper wrote. Skid marks and the angle of impact debunk Justus' account, he said.
Evidence shows that Linda Edwards saw Justus coming into her lane and "appeared to gradually move to the shoulder in an attempt to avoid Mr. Justus," the affidavit says.
At the hospital, Justus "seemed calmed for what had just transpired, as if he was under the influence of a depressant," the trooper said. He gave consent for the state's blood test, and a nurse assisted the trooper in drawing blood, the trooper said.
Another trooper performed inventory on Justus' truck at the towing yard, and reportedly found a green leafy substance that tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in cannabis, according to the affidavit.
The next week, a trooper went to Justus' residence to interview him and Robertson.
"I left for Tulsa, OK to get some eats and meds," Justus reportedly said. "On the way there, I heard and felt a little grinding or some rubbing of some kind and would kick it over to the right and left."
The affidavit says Justus told the trooper he recently had work done on his truck in Fairfax for front-end repairs, but didn't know what was fixed.
When the trooper paid a visit to the repair shop, an employee produced the last work order for Justus' truck, which was dated a year before the crash, the affidavit says.
Justus was placed under arrest, and a trooper said in the affidavit that the blood kit detected benzodiazepines, cannabinoid, methadone benzoylecgonines, phenethylamines and Oxycodone.
The Edwardses were well respected and well known in their small hometown of Hominy.
Glenn was a member of the Choctaw Nation and a lifelong oilfield worker. He was funny, hardworking and extremely proud of his American Indian heritage, family says.
Linda, a Hominy High graduate, was retired from Hominy Public Schools, where she provided transportation for special needs children and worked as a substitute teacher and teacher's assistant.
Linda would help anyone who needed it and her "jovial and loving personality [endeared] her to everyone she met… She enjoyed bossing everyone around in a good way," her obituary said.
Their funerals were held last summer at the Hominy High School gym to accommodate the crowd of those paying respects.
Justus previously served prison time for larceny in 1992 and again in 1999.
He currently is being held at the Pawnee County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.