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Traffic deaths lead to charges

Posted: August 23, 2012 - 8:27am  |  Updated: August 26, 2012 - 9:06pm

Two separate incidents of vehicle deaths, which occurred in 2010 and 2011, have resulted in criminally negligent homicide charges for two Alaska men. 

The individuals have been summoned to Kenai for arraignment on Tuesday, according to court records.

Thomas C. Dyer, of Kenai, has been charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide. The single charge stems from an April 23, 2011 accident that caused the death Kenai resident James Stutsman. 

At 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, Stutsman, 55, was riding his motorcycle when he collided with an SUV driven by then-26-year-old Dyer. The collision occurred at the intersection of the Kenai Spur Highway and Redoubt Street, Alaska State Troopers reported. 

Emergency responders rushed the victim to Central Peninsula Hospital, where he was declared dead. Stutsman was not wearing a helmet, troopers reported. 

Criminally negligent homicide is a class B felony and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. 

Police issued Dyer a ticket for failing to stop at a red light in January 2012, but the charge was dismissed after the defendant finished a defensive driving course. Dyer also pleaded no contest to driving without insurance in 2007, according to court records. 

Anchorage resident Clifford J. Henderson has been charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide. The charges stem from a Nov. 6, 2010 head-on vehicle collision that killed two people visiting Nikiski for a church event. 

At 10:16 a.m., Paul Trissell, 68, was driving a 2000 Honda CRV southbound on the Kenai Spur Highway with his wife, Pamela Trissell, 55, as a passenger. A Peterbilt semi-truck without trailers traveling north crossed the centerline and crashed into the SUV near Mile 18 of the highway. The Trissells had pulled out of the church parking lot and driven about 200 to 300 feet when the crash occurred, troopers reported. 

Paul Trissell died on scene; Pamela Trissell was taken to CPH and pronounced dead at 12:48 p.m., troopers reported. 

Henderson was not injured in the collision, troopers reported. 

Henderson pleaded no contest to two non-criminal charges of driving with overweight axels; the offenses were in 2009 and 2010. 

Meanwhile, the death of a Kenai attorney remains unresolved two years after a vehicle collision took his life.

Peter Mysing, 59, sat in the passenger seat of his 2004 Ford Mustang with driver Elias Cobb, 20, of Kenai, when the car collided with a pickup in Old Town Kenai. Troopers pronounced Mysing, who specialized in defending drunk drivers, dead on scene at the time of the accident. 

The collision occurred at the corner of Overland Avenue and Mission Avenue, not far from Mysing’s log cabin law office, on Sept. 4, 2010. 

Investigators said Mysing rode with two others: Cobb and Ryan Hobbs, 20, also of Kenai, who sat in back. A 2001 Ford F-350 truck, driven by Thomas Byers, 46, of Anchorage with front passenger Jason Ross, 36, of Kenai, and a 15-year old Kenai male in back, hit the Mustang on its side.

The impact pushed the Mustang over a curb. The vehicle demolished a cluster of mailboxes, slid across a yard and hit the side of a home and business, said Beth Ipsen, troopers’ spokesperson, in 2010. 

The drivers of the vehicles have not been charged with minor traffic offenses, such as speeding or reckless driving, or more severe charges. Requests for information resulted in no new details as the report is not complete, troopers said. 

According to court records, Allstate Insurance Company filed a complaint in November 2010 against Byers, the driver of the Ford. 

Byers sought additional coverage for the wreck from Allstate, but the insurance company argued it owed no additional compensation. 

The court found that Allstate had no obligation to compensate Byers under two additional insurance policies. Both parties agreed to the judgment on March 29, 2011.

Other parties, including Cobb and the estate of Peter Mysing, were summoned to court for the civil case. 

None of those parties have sought compensation from each other during the two years since the accident, according to court records.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com. 

Editor’s note: The article contained an error about Thomas C. Dyer’s motor offenses history. A ticket for speeding 20-plus miles over the speed limit was issued to a Thomas T. Dyer, not Thomas C. Dyer. Another charge, failing to stop at a red light, was added to the article.

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barryjackman
6
Points
barryjackman 08/23/12 - 02:28 pm
0
0
Irresponsible

FYI, the writer of this article was cited in 2005 for 20+ MPH over the speed limt, then again in 2006 for 10-19 MPH over the speed limit. I know, its just as irrelevant as stating that about Thomas Dyer (TC), but the writer had no problem doing it, so I don't either.

TC is my cousin, and he probably won't like me writing this, but charging him with criminally negligent homicide is in itself a crime. I am not sure the reasoning, and I probably don't have all the facts but TC is torn up about the accident. He was not breaking the law. There was no reckless behavior. He turned in front of a motorcycle that he believed to be a car farther down the road. A man died and his family will have to live without him. I hopefully will never have to experience the pain that Mr. Stutsmans family is experiencing. I am sure that TC wishes he could have that moment back every day since the accident. Taking away his freedom, and quite possibly ruining his life will not bring Mr. Stutsman back. It will not take away his families pain, it will only create pain in another family. Our court system is about justice, not vengeance. Where is the justice in this situation.

Jerzy Shedlock should be ashamed of this article.

Media Critic
87
Points
Media Critic 08/23/12 - 05:18 pm
0
0
Irresponsible???

Lemme get this straight, barryjackman: After considering a police investigation, the district attorney presents a case to a grand jury of your cousin's peers. They decide to charge him. And your beef is with the writer for writing about it? ??? The indictment certainly is news. And if your cousin has been wrongly accused, and I'm willing to give him that benefit of the doubt, it's still news. Perhaps bigger news. Justice, as you are asking for, takes place in broad daylight.

barryjackman
6
Points
barryjackman 08/23/12 - 07:02 pm
0
0
Media Critic

My problem is not with them writing an article. The article is important. My problem is them looking up irrelevant tickets from TCs past, one of which wasn't even his but belonged to a Thomas T. Dyer born in 1985, and presenting them as if they are pertinent to the fact that he has been charged. I believe I stated in my comment that the fact he was charged with neglegent homicide was a crime. There is very little I can do about an over zealous district attourney, but when the people who report the news get facts wrong and lead the public to erronious assumptions, I can certainly say something. The very people who read this paper will be on the jury should it come to that.

liftit
20
Points
liftit 08/24/12 - 11:40 pm
0
0
I can understand..

I can understand your frustrations with the error, but the previous history certainly IS relevant to the case at hand. The history cited involves careless driving habits, which is certainly relevant to the case at hand. Anyone that knows TC, or has seen him driving around town, knows that, while he may be a skillful driver, he pushes the limits of his vehicles. Careless driving may not be the cause of the accident, but his history will be what speaks for him.

akgirls14
2
Points
akgirls14 08/28/12 - 09:36 am
0
0
Maybe I don't understand??

I'm really glad our justice system is not supposed to convict based on a person's history. It's based on evidence and the facts of the situation at hand. "anyone that knows TC or has seen him driving around town....." needs to keep their opinions to themselves and wait to see what the final reports say about what ACTUALLY happened. There is not a person on this planet who has driven a vehicle who has not done exactly what he did, turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle. So judging him on your "knowledge" is wasted breath. What Barry was pointing out was the printing of incorrect history in a small town can make it very difficult for a 12 man jury to make the right decision. But since everyone already presumably already knows his driving habits then I guess the poor kid is up a creek, huh? Ignorance is bliss!

liftit
20
Points
liftit 08/28/12 - 07:14 pm
0
0
Read my comment..

Read my comment again, and you will see that I am not saying that TC did anyting to cause this particular accident.

" Careless driving may not be the cause of the accident"

I am only stating my observations, and sharing my opinion. I understand that people that are friends of TC would rather not have anything said that might reflect negatively on him, but such is life.

barryjackman
6
Points
barryjackman 08/29/12 - 08:15 am
0
0
Read my comment

Which is exactly my point, Why include information that might lead to the wrong conclusion when it probably isn't relevant to this particular incident. For instance, there is no information on the driving record of the poor man who was killed. There is no information on where he was coming from. There is no information on the status of his head light on the motorcycle. This article attempts to lead everyone to the assumption that TC is a unsafe driver who was following some sort of pattern of reckless driving and his recklessness killed Mr. Stutsman. That is for a jury to decide, and they don't need the peninsula clarion influencing the jury pool. Frankly friends and family are who you should expect to complain about an unfair article. Nobody else would care enough to comment.

radiokenai
560
Points
radiokenai 08/31/12 - 07:44 am
0
0
Simply put...
Unpublished

Sounds like if you are the cause of an ACCIDENT in which there is loss of life, then you could be rest assured you will be tried as a Murderer in our State.

Next thing you know, if by accident, you should snag a salmon, they will try to charge you with assault with deadly weapon!

TheKenaiKid
126
Points
TheKenaiKid 09/04/12 - 11:45 am
0
0
Hmmm...

I think Barry might have a point here. Should reporters whose pasts include similar infractions really be reporting on this kind of thing? It obviously hurts the paper's credibility. IDK, maybe there's some leeway there...but would you grant that kind of leeway to someone who's also prone to making sloppy mistakes in their reporting?

FYI, if you want to add to that correction/clarification, it's Redoubt Avenue, not street...

roadnazi
15
Points
roadnazi 09/04/12 - 11:42 pm
0
0
Alaska known for bad driving

Whether it's lack of driver's education, bad roads or a particular state of mind, Alaska rates as the worst drivers in the nation. Acknowledging that driving is a shared responsibility is key. Taking chances on the road, means that you also force those chances on other drivers. Don't succumb to impatience or aggressive driving. We, along with our loved ones, are out there every day trying to get from point A to point B safely. It's a tough thing to live with, when you cause the injuries or death of someone else. PLease, pleae, PLEASE...obey traffic laws!

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 09/05/12 - 09:25 am
0
0
Alaska is BAD but not "WORST"

Actually, Alaska was the 6th worst in accident per capita in the US. North Dakota holds the dubious position of #1, followed by Montana, Kentucky, Louisianna and Oklahoma.
We are not the best drivers in the nation, but given one of your reasons (road conditions) and adding to that geographic and atmospheric conditions, we do better than most. 18 hours of darkness combined with winter driving conditions could lead to higher accident rate. In the summer time, better road conditions are countered with more out of state drivers motor homes, sight see'rs and impatient local drivers as well as a better than fair share of intoxicated motorists. Many factors contribute to a higher accident rate than a mear reflection of per capita rankings.

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