Scott County Man Charged In Deadly Crash

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A central Kentucky man accused of running a red light and crashing into a vehicle, killing a Lexington woman, is facing a reckless homicide charge from the 2006 case.

Joe Shepperson, 20, of Stamping Ground was served with the reckless homicide summons recently in connection with the death of 45-year-old Kathleen Torok, Lexington police officer Alvin Cook said in a story on the Lexington Herald-Leader's Web site Wednesday.

Shepperson previously had been charged with traffic offenses in the crash.

Lexington police concluded in May that Shepperson showed "extreme indifference to life" - alleging he was speeding and ran the red light - and should be charged with a homicide-related offense.

But Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson declined to file such a criminal charge and take the case to a grand jury.

Larson said in an interview in August that he met with police in February and May and was given no evidence of homicide. Larson said a prosecutor in his office researched every reported case in the state in which someone died after a driver committed a traffic violation. In those cases, judges ruled that manslaughter or vehicular homicide were not appropriate charges, unless the driver acted wantonly in addition to the traffic offense.

Now, police are taking a different route. They are asking a Fayette County District Court judge to decide whether there is probable cause to send the case to the next level and let a grand jury hear it.

Shepperson is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 14 on the new charge. First Assistant Fayette County Attorney Brian Mattone said the reckless-homicide charge was filed as a result of additional investigation by police. Cook and Mattone would not say what the additional investigation found.

Shepperson also faces traffic charges in connection with the crash, including speeding and reckless driving.

Shepperson's attorney, John Cornett of Georgetown, said in August that the crash was "a horrible tragedy" and that his client feels terrible about it, but that criminal charges don't apply.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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