The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the manslaughter conviction of a man in the death of an Army friend.
Brian Cripps, 32, was badly hurt in the crash on March 25, 2012. Samuel Dash, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene. Justin Gibson was treated and released from a Tulsa hospital.
Tulsa Police said Cripps was driving an SUV that ran off the road as it exited the BA Expressway at Sheridan Road. Officers at the scene blamed alcohol and speed for the crash.
Dash had served in Iraq in the U.S. Army. Cripps and Gibson were Marines in a unit based in Broken Arrow.
Cripps was sentenced to four years in prison for 2nd-degree manslaughter. He was released in May 2016 after serving 14 months.
He appealed his conviction on three grounds; the trial judge should not have allowed a police officer to express his opinion that Cripps was the one driving, that the blood alcohol content evidence should have been quashed, and that he cannot be retried for manslaughter because the jury acquitted him of 1st-degree manslaughter and negligent homicide.
The court ruled that the police officer was entitled to express his opinion on where Cripps was in the vehicle. The court also ruled there was no problem with the evidence of his blood alcohol content and that his request for a new trial is moot.