Coffelt v. State, 3--573A51

Docket NºNo. 3--573A51
Citation159 Ind.App. 485, 307 N.E.2d 497
Case DateMarch 07, 1974
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 497

307 N.E.2d 497
159 Ind.App. 485
Donald D. COFFELT, Appellant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 3--573A51.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, Third District.
March 7, 1974.

[159 Ind.App. 486]

Page 498

Howard S. Grimm, Jr., Grimm & Grimm, Auburn, for appellant.

Theodore, L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Robert A. Zaban, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

STATON, Judge.

Donald D. Coffelt was tried by court and convicted of involuntary manslaughter on September 28, 1972. 1 He was sentenced to the Indiana Department of Corrections for a period of not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years. Coffelt timely filed his motion to correct errors which raises only one issue on appeal: sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction.

When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, this Court cannot weigh the evidence nor determine the credibility of the witnesses. Walker v. State (1973), Ind.App., 293 N.E.2d 35; Smith v. State (1970), 254 Ind. 401, 260 N.E.2d 558. We will consider only that evidence most favorable to the State with all reasonable inferences which may be drawn therefrom. The conviction will be affirmed if, from that point of view, there is substantial evidence of probative value from which the trier of fact could reasonably infer that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Taylor v. State (1972), Ind., 284 [159 Ind.App. 487] N.E.2d 775; Rogers v. State (1972), Ind.App., 290 N.E.2d 135.

Coffelt first contends that there is insufficient evidence to show that he was engaged in an unlawful act. The grand jury indictment. Of February 8, 1972 charged that Donald Coffelt committed involuntary manslaughter while engaged in an illegal speed contest. 2 I.C. 9--4--6--1

Page 499

(Burns 1973) defines a speed contest as follows:

'Speed contest defined.--Under this act (9--4--6--1--9--4--6--4), a speed contest is any unnecessary rapid acceleration by two (2) or more vehicles which creates a hazard to pedestrians, passengers, vehicles or other property.'

Reviewing the evidence most favorable to the State, the record discloses the following. On November 6, 1971 at approximately 9:00 o'clock P.M. at the intersection of State Road 14 and Getz Road near Fort Wayne, Indiana, a 1968 Corvette automobile driven by Donald D. Coffelt collided with the right side of a 1971 Toronado automobile driven by Mrs. Carol Knotts. As a result of the collision, the four minor passengers in the Toronado and the adult passenger in the Corvette were killed. Mrs. Knotts had been on her way to a filling station at the corner of State Road 14 and Getz Road to pick up her husband. State Road 14 is a four lane highway with a dip in the road west of the Getz Road intersection. Before turning left onto Getz Road, Mrs. Knotts slowed her automobile and noted headlights approximately one-half mile away. She had completed her turn but was still in the intersection when the Corvette hit her. Mrs. Knotts described the collision as follows:

'A. . . . I was in the eastbound traffic lane. And as I was in the middle of that lane, I saw another set of headlights and he just, he just came out of nowhere, and I didn't have time to be frightened or anything. I just stepped on the gas hoping to get out of the way and [159 Ind.App. 488] that's the last thing I remember until Mort (her husband) came running over to the car. . . .

'A. They (the Corvette headlights) were coming very fast because they just appeared--just appeared out of nowhere, they just appeared, and then they hit me. . . .'

Prior to the collision, several witnesses testified that they saw Donald Coffelt and David Reinoehl racing each other. David Reinoehl was driving a 1969 GTO. One of the witnesses, Mr. Tony Mentzer, was traveling between 70 and 75 m.p.h. on Interstate 69 when he first noticed the two cars racing:

'A. This GTO went flying around me and this Corvette was right behind him.

'A. Well, I watched them the best I could. As I went on down 69 I could tell, in my own opinion, that they were racing. So I went on and watched them. I watched when they would come up on a car that was on up the road in front of me and in front of this Corvette, the GTO was in the passing lane; the Corvette, if I remember right, could, uh, put on his brakes to slow down and cut back into the passing lane, passed this car, then right back in to the driving lane again.'

Mrs. Mentzer, who was riding with her husband that night, also observed the two cars racing. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mentzer testified that after the two cars exited onto State Road 14, they observed them take off side by side on the State Road 14 overpass, approximately one-half mile from the scene of the collision. David Reinoehl testified that he had been...

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8 cases
  • Graham v. State, 2-984A274
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • July 31, 1985
    ...v. State (1982), Ind., 437 N.E.2d 969, 971; State v. Kelsey (1975), 163 Ind.App. 543, 545, 325 N.E.2d 218, 219; Coffelt v. State (1974), 159 Ind.App. 485, 490, 307 N.E.2d 497, 500, quoting Votre v. State (1923), 192 Ind. 684, 686, 138 N.E. 257, 257; W. LaFave & A. Scott, Criminal Law Sec. 3......
  • State v. Farner, E1999-00491-SC-R11-CD.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 11, 2001
    ...death. The jury convicted the defendant of the less serious offense. 7. Id. at 581, n. 2 (citing cases). 8. See also Coffelt v. State, 159 Ind.App. 485, 307 N.E.2d 497, 500 (1974) (stating that the contributory negligence of a victim is not a defense to involuntary manslaughter but will exo......
  • State v. Farner, 99-00491
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 11, 2001
    ...The jury convicted the defendant of the less serious offense. (FN7). Id. at 581, n.2 (citing cases). (FN8). See also Coffelt v. State, 307 N.E.2d 497, 500 (Ind. Ct. App. 1974) (stating that the contributory negligence of a victim is not a defense to involuntary manslaughter but will exonera......
  • People v. Rostad, 82SA31
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • September 6, 1983
    ...conduct proximately caused the victim's death. See, e.g., State v. Benson, 5 Conn.Cir. 316, 251 A.2d 185 (1968); Coffelt v. State, 159 Ind.App. 485, 307 N.E.2d 497 (1974); State v. McFadden, 320 N.W.2d 608 (Iowa 1982); State v. Vaught, 56 Ohio St.2d 93, 382 N.E.2d 213 (1978); State v. Dionn......
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