Drive Acquitted in Fatal Bus Stop Accident

ErickPauley's picture

A driver who hit and killed a girl after she got off a school bus has been acquitted of a felony charge. Jurors in Lander found William Dean Barnes not guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of 11-year-old MaKayla Marie Strahle (STRAW'-lee) of Crowheart. Jurors convicted him of several misdemeanor charges on Friday evening, including homicide by vehicle. That carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine up to $2,000.

 Barnes struck MaKayla as she crossed a highway after getting off the bus on Dec. 20, 2011. The bus had flashing lights but there was fog at the time. Barnes' lawyer argued that prosecutors didn't prove that he was driving recklessly. The jury took nearly eight hours to reach their verdict.