BLACKFOOT — A 61-year-old man has backed out of a plea agreement that would have resolved a case involving the death of a seven-year-old girl.
Terry E. Laeger was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter last November – a year after Madelyn Holbrook died in a crash on I-15.
The accident occurred Nov. 24, 2015 when Laegar lost control of his truck after a tire blew, according to police. He crossed into the median and crashed head-on into a 2007 Chevrolet pickup carrying Madelyn, three other children and their mother.
Laeger was charged after investigators found he operated the commercial truck with minimal tire tread. According to reports, the front left tire had minimal tire tread and some areas were below 2/32 of an inch. State law requires tread depth above 4/32 of an inch.
In addition to the balding tire, it was rated not to exceed 50 mph. Laeger told investigators he was traveling at around 75 mph when the accident occurred.
Laeger was scheduled to plead guilty Thursday in Bingham County as part of a plea agreement. He was supposed to be sentenced on amended misdemeanor charges of inattentive driving and failure to conduct a safety inspection. He had previously signed the plea agreement but backed of the deal before the hearing started.
According to Laeger’s Defense Attorney, Justin Oleson, his client was under the impression that he would be pleading guilty only to the inattentive driving charge.
Laeger has 13 convictions for safety violations in the state of Idaho, according to court records. Those convictions include charges of exceeding weight limits, improper use of designated lanes, traveling with unsecured loads and several speeding infractions. He’s paid over $1,800 in fines.
A jury trial will now be scheduled for Laeger on the misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
Ian Kerner, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Josh Friesen, Idaho State Journal
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com