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Jury selection begins today in teen bicyclist's death, father sa

The Orange County Register: Jury selection begins today in teen bicyclist’s death, father says

Jeffrey Woods, the defendant, is accused of texting a drug deal about the same time he was suspected of driving into Danny Oates.

BY CINDY CARCAMO
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

HUNTINGTON BEACH Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the two-year-old case of a 14-year-old bicyclist who was struck by a truck and killed as he headed to middle school to pick up his schedule, said Paul Oates, whose son died in the crash.

Jeffrey Woods, who entered a not guilty plea, is expected to stand trial on Monday on suspicion of text messaging and being under the influence of Vicodin and Xanax when he slammed his truck into Danny Oates on Aug 29, 2007.

Both sides -- the prosecution and defense -- have accused each other of delaying the trial after a host of legal maneuverings, including a grand jury indictment of Woods in November of last year.

"We’re stressed… it’s taken such a toll," Paul Oates said Wednesday.

Woods has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and another felony count of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury.

In a Feb. 13, 2008 affidavit filed during the investigation, Huntington Beach police stated that Woods may have been texting on his cell phone, negotiating a drug deal, about the same time he crashed his truck into Danny. The same documents also stated that Woods had tried to score drugs during a three-day period and was possibly under the influence of an opiate at the time of the crash.

Woods’ attorney, Scott Well, says his client suffered a seizure on the day of the crash, adding that he was diagnosed with epilepsy.

The trial comes after a judge refused to offer a plea deal to Woods in the spring. The ruling came after nearly early three hours of emotionally charged testimonials from the families of Oates and Woods, explaining how their lives have been torn apart after the crash.

Oates said Danny’s death has been especially hard on his 10-year-old daughter.

"She gets sick every time she has a court thing," he said. "It’s just killing her. She gets stressed out … seeing the guy that killed her brother."

Well could not be reached for comment.