Man Charged With First-Degree Manslaughter In Death Of ODOT Worker

Wednesday, March 8th 2017, 7:43 pm
By: News On 6

Prosecutors say the driver who hit and killed an ODOT worker admits being distracted by a cell phone.

They've now charged Robert Smith with killing Jarrell Gray 10 months ago in Delaware County.  

An affidavit says Robert Smith admitted to Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers that he was distracted by his cell phone, that he was trying to silence it or turn it off because it kept making a sound. 

He also said he was looking at his speedometer and his mirrors when he hit a work van, then veered off the road and hit Gray."

5/18/2016 Related Story: ODOT Employee Killed In Work Zone Crash

Gray had worked for ODOT for 18 years and was the father of three boys.

He was leading a work crew of inmates along highway 20 near Jay last May when he got hit.

The Delaware County District Attorney filed first-degree manslaughter charges against Robert Smith. He was booked into jail this week and bonded out.

Jarrell's mother says the delay in getting charges filed has been hard because while her son is dead, Smith goes on with his life.

"He got married in July. He had Thanksgiving with his family, he had Christmas with his family. We had to do all that without Jarrell," said Jarrell's mother, Judy Gray. 

Records show Smith has a 2011 conviction for DUI and leaving the scene of a wreck, and is currently on a 15-year suspended sentenced for a 2012 arson case and also pled guilty to public intoxication, all in Logan County.

"He needs something because he's made other bad choices and he needs to learn his choices affect others and will affect me the remainder of my life," Judy said. 

Judy said everyone needs to pay attention in work zones because those workers are someone's loved one.

"I say this jokingly, but we can do anything in a car today but take a shower and it's not meant for that. That car, you need to be paying attention to what you're doing."