Jury trial date set in December for dragging-death case

Local News

A 63-year-old Davenport man accused in a dragging death was back in Scott County Court on Wednesday while the prosecution and defense argued a motion to dismiss the case, which now is set for a jury trial.

Mark Blackwood appeared in a remote hearing, where a judge heard arguments from Assistant County Attorney Amy K. Devine against dismissal of the case.

A status hearing on the case was set for Nov. 16 in Scott County Court, where pretrial conferences are set for Dec. 1 and a jury trial, which is expected to last five days, is set for Dec. 6.

Legal arguments on Wednesday

Devine asked the court to deny a motion to dismiss charges. Blackwood’s attorney, Doug Scovil, asked for the case to be dismissed.

Scovil said Blackwood did not do anything reckless.

“The defendant wasn’t doing anything that was reckless in the operation of his motor vehicle. The decedent was basically crossing the roadway we assume, or in the roadway. He was not at a corner, not in the crosswalk, and an accident occurred,” Scovil said Wednesday.

But “It’s the recklessness that causes the death” in this case, Devine said. The defendant drove his vehicle for a significant amount of distance after he struck the victim, the victim went under his vehicle, on top of his vehicle for some time, and under the vehicle for a significant distance, she said.

“It’s not about the reckless conduct causing the accident. It’s about the recklessness that causes the death,” she said.

Blackwood knew or reasonably should have known he struck someone, Devine said. DeVine says in court documents the state’s theory of recklessness is not based on the fact the defendant merely “moved his car” after the crash.

“It is based on the fact that the defendant drove with the victim under his car after striking him for almost three thousand feet. And that was after the defendant carried the victim on the hood of his car for approximately 140 feet,” she writes.

The dragging death

Blackwood faces felony charges of homicide by vehicle – reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident – death.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Jan. 18, Davenport police responded to the area of 2600 Fillmore Lane to an unresponsive man in the road, an arrest affidavit says.

Police say Blackwood was driving a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer when he hit Eric Johnson, who was walking in the 1900 block of Washington Street.

After the Blazer hit Johnson, he was carried on the hood/front of the vehicle for about 140 feet.

After the initial contact with the vehicle, Johnson fell from the hood and became tangled in the undercarriage of the Blazer.

Blackwood, police say, didn’t stop and dragged Johnson nearly 3,000 feet headed north on Washington Street, then east on Central Park Avenue and finally north on Fillmore Lane.

Johnson became dislodged from the Blazer in the 2600 block of Fillmore Lane, where Blackwood did not stop, but continued home.

Blackwood, the affidavit says, “never reported this crash to police or medical personnel.”

Johnson, who was dragged for seven blocks, was pronounced dead that evening. Blackwood was identified as the driver after law enforcement reviewed video from the area and through his own statements.

The Blazer was located at Blackwood’s residence the next day with damage from the incident.

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