Negligent driving results in conviction

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Airman 1st Class Alan J. Lindgren, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, was found guilty of two specifications of negligent homicide in violation of Article 134, Uniform Code of Military Justice April 6 at the 52nd Fighter Wing Legal Office Court room.

Airman Lindgren elected to be tried and sentenced by a military judge instead of a panel of officers. Colonel Dawn R. Eflein, Chief Trial Judge for the European Region, sentenced the accused to 15 months confinement and reduction to the grade of E-2.

The accused was driving his BMW M-3 on the autobahn when he lost control of his vehicle and killed two Spangdahlem Airmen, A1C Amanda J. Jotham and A1C Brandon S. McDonald July 11, 2010. The car crash occurred on the A-60 between Spangdahlem Air Base and Bitburg, Germany.

At trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of the high speed, approximately 240 kmh, the accused was driving at the time he lost control of his vehicle. Although the stretch of autobahn where the crash occurred did not have a posted speed limit, the accused was found to be negligent and therefore legally responsible for the consequences of his actions.

A conviction for negligent homicide requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the accused's actions, which caused the death of another, amounted to simple negligence. Simple negligence is a failure to act as a reasonable person would have acted under similar circumstances. In order to meet their burden of proof, the prosecution focused on the high speed of the vehicle at the sharp curve where the crash occurred and the extreme reclined position of the driver's seat as factors that indicated Airman Lindgren did not act as a reasonable person would have acted.

Airman Lindgren is currently serving his sentence at the U.S. Army Regional Corrections Facility - Europe in Mannheim, Germany.