Local News

Jury Still Deliberating in Dixon Case

Posted September 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— 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 accident last 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 regarding how long jurors can deliberate without reaching an agreement. Judge Gordon Battle 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 people died on August 23, 1996. Prosecutors say Dixon was negligent for failing to slow down in a construction zone on the highway where traffic was slow.

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

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

Photographer:Ed Wilson