Deadly Traffic Case Closed Against Rochester Teenager
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The case against a Rochester teenager who was charged with causing a traffic wreck that killed his friend has been closed.
Charges of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation and two counts of reckless driving were filed against Branden Maplethorpe, who turned 17 in March. His car was struck by another vehicle while trying to cross Highway 14 near Byron last year. Maplethorpe’s passenger - 18-year-old Michael Hendrix of Byron - suffered fatal injuries.
The other vehicle was driven by 60-year-old Scott Gifford of Byron, who was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Gifford told investigators he saw Maplethorpe’s car starting to cross the highway and he hit the brakes but could not avoid hitting the other vehicle.
Olmsted County Judge Jacob Allen dismissed the charges last month after considering the evidence in the case, which included testimony from one expert who blamed the collision on the excessive speed of Gifford’s vehicle.
The judge convicted Maplethorpe of a minor careless driving charge. He closed the case Tuesday by deciding Maplethorpe’s restrictions during his pre-trial release was sufficient punishment.