The panel recommended a sentence of 20 years in prison for Jerry Don Davis, 55, who was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing the Sept. 17, 2010, wreck that killed Patricia Ann Dixon, 53, of Elk City. Davis also was found guilty of driving on a revoked license, with jurors deciding on a year in the county jail. A judge will decide whether to follow the recommendations when Davis is sentenced Sept. 19.
Prosecutors alleged Davis was at the controls of his 2005 Harley Davidson when it rear-ended a car making a left turn at NW 3 and Portland Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Davis, though, took the stand Wednesday and testified Dixon was driving at the time of the accident. Just before the crash he said he reached around her with his right arm to grip the front brake as the motorcycle gained on the car slowing down in front of them.
“The next thing you know I was picking myself up off the ground,” he said.
A former police officer specializing in accident reconstruction testified Davis couldn't have been the passenger because his injuries — a broken arm, broken wrist, broken thumb and cuts on his face — were consistent with injuries sustained by drivers.
Dixon was thrown 50 feet from the motorcycle and suffered head trauma and road rash but no injuries to her torso consistent with hitting a windshield or handlebars, according to testimony from the police officer and a pathologist from the state medical examiner's office. Neither Dixon nor Davis was wearing a helmet.
“He had injuries consistent with him being at the controls,” Assistant District Attorney Gary Ackleysaid during closing arguments. “She didn't.”
Ackley questioned Davis' credibility as a witness, citing three prior felony convictions and his decision to get involved with a married woman as indicators of “a willingness to deceive” in order to stay out of prison.
Defense attorney David Slanecalled retired Oklahoma police Sgt. Jerry Hendrick“arrogant” in his findings and told the jury his investigation of the crash was incomplete.
“This investigation was less than thorough,” Slane said. “Probably, it was just wrong.”
The attorney said Davis was trying to “help an inexperienced driver” by trying to grab the handlebars, and sustained the same types of injuries as if he had been driving.
“Nobody ever came here (to court) and said they saw him driving,” Slane said.
Davis testified he and Dixon were having an affair they hid from her husband and children, and decided to ride to Oklahoma City for the weekend the day she was killed.
They stopped at a bar near the crash site, where they drank beer and played pool with a couple they met, Davis said. He acknowledged drinking as many as five beers, but said alcohol didn't affect his decision to let Dixon — an inexperienced rider — take the controls.
“If I wouldn't have had any alcohol I probably would have let her do it anyway,” he said.
According to Davis' testimony, the other couple was on a motorcycle in front of them and swerved to avoid the car before Davis's motorcycle crashed going about 35 to 40 mph.Davis was legally drunk at the time of the crash, prosecutors said.