Judge declares mistrial in Overstreet case

By: 
Liz Kearney
Enterprise Staff Writer
After deliberating for nearly six hours, the jury in the trial of a young man accused of vehicular homicide while under the influence could not come to a unanimous verdict.
 
Judge Robert Olson declared a mistrial at approximately 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
 
The defendant, Walter J. Overstreet, Jr., was on trial as a result of a single vehicle accident in which one of the six teens in the vehicle, Rhianna Wills, 17, was killed on the night of Dec. 13, 2015. 
 
During the trial, defense attorney Jami Rebsom cast doubt on the prosecution’s assertion that Overstreet had been driving at the time of the accident. 
 
Rebsom produced a witness who testified that she saw Overstreet get into the back of his own truck, driven by someone she couldn’t identify, at about 11:15 or 11:30 p.m. the night of the accident.
 
And Rebsom suggested in the vehicle that the driver’s seat position, even after the car was severely damaged, was positioned too far forward for Overstreet, who stands 6’11”, to have been driving.
 
The accident, in which the pickup left the road, hit a raised driveway and rolled end-over-end several times before coming to a stop off the road and facing the opposite direction it was originally traveling, was reported to 911 shortly after midnight by one of the truck’s occupants.
 
The location of the accident was seven miles north of the Interstate 90 interchange on U.S. Highway 89 North.
 
The mistrial followed three days of testimony from law enforcement and emergency service personnel, tow truck drivers, other experts, and crash survivors, including Overstreet.
 
The jury foreman told the judge the jury was deadlocked in a 9-3 vote and “no amount of talking” was going to change the vote.
 
Park County Attorney Bruce Becker said a new trial will occur.
 
Asked how he felt after court had been adjourned, Overstreet said he had no comment.
 
 
 

 

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