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Jury Still Deliberating in Dixon Case

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DURHAM — A Durham jury has yet to reach a decision after deliberating since Wednesday afternoon. As of midday Friday,there was still no verdict for Esau Dixon.

Dixon is the truck driver who is accused of causing a deadly accidentlast summer on Interstate-85 in Durham.

The jury foreman said jurors are at a potential impasse, but are still trying to work through it. The judge will have a final decision regardinghow long jurors can deliberate without reaching an agreement. Judge GordonBattle has, thus far, been very lenient with the jury. For instance,jurors met for only an hour Friday morning before asking to take a break.The judge allowed them to go.

The jury requested the legal definition of the word "wanton" and another viewing of video tape of the accident scene, where eight peopledied on August 23, 1996. Prosecutors say Dixon was negligent for failingto slow down in a construction zone on the highway where traffic was slow.

Dixon has admitted his truck struck the Umstead State Hospital van, buthe says the smaller vehicle darted in front of his truck. He says thetruck's hood popped open and he couldn't see what was happening afterthat.

One attorney in the case says that, because of all the testimony duringthe trial, and because of the questions and breaks jurors have had, thejudge might send jurors home for the weekend to think things over.

Photographer:Ed Wilson

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