“It’s just a very tragic case,” said Defense Attorney Scott Adams. “I mean, it’s horrible.”
According to court records, Justin Frank was driving in the westbound lanes of I-40 between Portland and Meridian in January of 2022 when he lost control of his car and crashed with two other vehicles, including a FedEx truck.
“[Frank’s car] eventually did strike the FedEx truck, which resulted in it getting ablaze,” said Adams.
The driver of the semi-truck, 64-year-old Sam Chitty, was killed.
Frank was arrested and is currently facing a first-degree manslaughter charge.
“It’s a very serious charge,” said Adams.
Court records say investigators found that Frank was driving in a “reckless manner including high speeds and unsafe lane changes” before he was “seen firmly applying his breaks as he merged” and eventually lost control.
During Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors argued this was a “road rage” incident.
Prosecutors, along with Chitty’s family, did not want to talk with KFOR on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Frank’s lawyer, Scott Adams, claims this was a horrific accident.
“Mr. Frank has been consistent from day one that he wasn’t doing anything other than traveling down I-40 and had a malfunction with his vehicle,” said Adams. “It’s our position that it wasn’t a crime. It was just a horrible set of circumstances.”
Adams told KFOR after a series of court dates, he expects this case to head to trial. He said that would likely happen in the spring of 2024.
“If they find him guilty, manslaughter in the first degree carries four [years] to life and all of that carries 85% [of time served],” said Adams.
The next court date is set for November.
KFOR also reached out to the Oklahoma County DA’s office, who said it also had no comment because the case is “in the process of adjudication.”