ST. PAUL — Because an unborn child was killed in a July 10 two-vehicle accident in Howard County, a fourth felony charge has been brought against Jessie Scarlett.
The Grand Island man is charged with three counts of manslaughter for the three adults who died in the accident, which occurred at the intersection of Highways 281 and 58.
The homicide statutes do not apply to an unborn child, said Howard County Attorney David Schroeder.
“But there is a separate statute that provides for motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child,” he said.
In a separate case, Schroeder filed that charge against Scarlett.
One of the victims of the accident was Tara Roy, whose son, Samuel Lucas, had been due to arrive the day before the accident. She was scheduled to be induced the next day, July 11. The father of the child, Eric John, was also killed in the accident.
For someone to be charged with motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child, it doesn’t matter how far along the mother is, Schroeder said.
Manslaughter is a Class 2A felony. Motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child is a Class 3A felony.
Scarlett, 35, was scheduled to make his first appearance in court Wednesday morning. But that appearance was postponed to 9:30 a.m. Aug. 7.
He was the driver of one of the two pickups involved in the accident, which occurred at about 3:30 p.m. He was heading east on Highway 58. His passenger, 19-year-old Briana Loveland of Grand Island, was pronounced dead at a hospital after the crash.
Roy, 41, and John, 48, were in the other truck, which was heading north on Highway 281. The couple, who lived northeast of Dannebrog, were dead at the scene.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Department says Scarlett ran the stop sign at the intersection.
As of earlier this week, Scarlett was in emergency protective custody at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings.