Prosecution asks court to deny request to dismiss dragging-death charges

Local News

The Scott County State’s Attorney’s Office has asked the court to deny a motion to dismiss charges involving a driver accused of a pedestrian’s dragging death.

Mark Blackwood, 63, of Davenport, accused of dragging pedestrian Eric Johnson to death, asks through his attorney to dismiss charges in a document filed June 3 in Scott County Court. He faces felony charges of homicide by vehicle – reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident – death.

Amy K, DeVine, assistant county attorney, says in court documents filed Monday 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.

“That is reckless. And that caused the victim’s death,” she says in the document. “The motion to dismiss is not appropriate because it is a factual question for a jury to decide – not a matter of law.”

She adds amended legislation does not take effect until July 1. It does not change the facts of the case and the state’s ability to move forward with the charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, she says.

“All the jury will have to do is look at the hood of the defendant’s vehicle – which the State intends to request a jury view in order for them to do so,” DeVine writes.

A hearing on the motion to dismiss is set for July 7.

The incident

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.

Blackwood, the affidavit says, “knew or should have reasonably known he struck a person.”

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 his residence the next day with damage from the incident.

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