Inquest underway into double fatal crash involving Carbon County deputy
RED LODGE — A coroner's inquest is underway in Carbon County nearly a year after two men were hit and killed by a Carbon County sheriff's deputy responding to a motorcycle accident on Highway 212.
The story dates back to the night of July 15, when Jesse Beck, 45, crashed his motorcycle just outside of Roberts. Fifty-two-year-old Darren Shull, a former paramedic, was traveling behind Beck and pulled over to render aid.
Sgt. Kelly Carrington, a Carbon County sheriff's deputy who has been with the office for 11 years, was responding to reports of a traffic incident turned motor vehicle crash with injuries, when he hit both men in the road—killing them both instantly.
Now, a coroner's inquest is underway, nearly a year after the accident.
The inquest is presided over by Park County Coroner Albert Jenkins. Jurors will hear evidence from several witnesses and decide if law enforcement could be subject to any charges of wrongdoing.
"This is a setting to assist the county attorney's office in determining if there is, in layman's terms, a good cause to charge someone with a crime," Jenkins said.
Dozens of people in the courtroom, wearing "Justice for Darren" shirts, want to know the same thing.
Jesse Beck's brother, Jason Beck, says the family has not heard much from the county about the case.
"There's a lot of unanswered questions from Carbon County and an apology that's due," Jason Beck said. "And maybe some charges filed."
Forensic specialists, crash witnesses, dispatchers, and Carrington himself were called to testify during the first day of the inquest.
Evidence presented to jurors was focused on Beck's alleged intoxicated driving, the speed at which Carrington was traveling, how dispatchers communicate crash locations to emergency responders, and at what mile marker Carrington believed the crash occurred.
Played for jurors was audio of a four-minute 911 call made by Shull about an erratic motorcycle driver, Beck, re-living the events of Beck's driving, crashing, and Shull getting out of the vehicle and rendering aid. On the call, Shull keeps dispatchers updated with changing mile marker numbers and informs them he is blocking the road rendering aid.
Then, came the full crash video—taken from Carrington's vehicle dash cam and body cam.
Carrington was responding to another car crash when he was dispatched to the crash on Highway 212.
Carrington told jurors he was driving about 110-115 miles per hour to the scene and was blinded by lights near the scene when he hit the two men.
At first, Carrington said he thought he hit a deer. His patrol vehicle, a Dodge Charger, crashed into a ditch but he was uninjured.
Carrington's testimony ended with a question from Carbon County County Attorney Alex Nixon about how the crash has affected him.
"I wish I knew how to describe it," Carrington said. "Sheer impending hell every waking hour of every day."
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story stated Jesse Beck's age is 35. It has been corrected.