Local News

Judge Admits Mistake, Vacates Earlier Decision In Fatal Bus Case

Posted July 19, 2004 5:43 a.m. EDT

— A judge admits he made a mistake. Judge Abraham Jones vacated a ruling against a woman charged in a deadly accident.

Superior Court Judge Abraham Jones cut short a trial Thursday, sending jurors home and issuing a verdict himself.

School bus driver Regina Skinner faced charges stemming from an accident in August 2003. Officials said the school bus driven by Skinner was crossing Highway 501 North to when it turned in front of the car of 72-year-old Stephen Cates, Sr. of Bahama.

Skinner faced a charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle after a crash. She pleaded not guilty to the charge. However, Jones abruptly ended the trial and found Skinner guilty.

"I was wrong. I made a mistake. Obviously, I know that someone charged with a crime has to have a jury verdict," he said.

Skinner will not be tried again criminally due to double jeopardy issues. The victim's family may still sue Skinner in civil court.

Stephen Cates' family and the district attorney's office had no comment on the judge's decisions.