By: Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Cushing man, who was originally accused of causing his wife’s death by allegedly drunk driving a pickup truck near Dunkin and Council Valley Roads, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide that was reduced by the prosecution from first-degree manslaughter, which is a felony.
Alexander Joseph Stuart, 61, was placed on three years’ probation with an order to have a substance abuse evaluation, perform any recommended follow-up treatment and pay $1,072 in court costs, along with a $500 fine and $100 victims’ compensation fund assessment in a plea bargain approved by Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler Tuesday.
If Stuart had been convicted of the original charge of first-degree manslaughter, he could have been given a prison term of four years to life in the death of his wife, Bertha J. Young, 64, who was pronounced dead at the scene of the one-vehicle crash on March 26, 2017, court records show.
Stuart lost control of his pickup truck that hit a tree, the original charge alleged.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Conaghan alleged in an affidavit that when he responded to the fatal crash, “Stuart had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and person, slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes, and was unsteady on his feet.”
“Stuart admitted to drinking one 12-ounce Busch beer. Stuart failed standardized field sobriety tests performed at the scene,” the affidavit alleged.
“Stuart gave a breath sample using a portable breath testing device with the result being a .06,” the affidavit alleged.
“I believed Stuart was under the influence of a combination of alcohol as well as other intoxicants,” the trooper alleged in his affidavit.
“Stuart was placed under arrest and transported to the Stillwater Medical Center emergency room where he agreed to the state’s blood test,” the results of which were not listed in the affidavit, court records show.
“Stuart was then transported to the Stillwater City Jail where a drug recognition evaluation was performed by Stillwater Police Officers Cluck and Hummel. Their evaluation led them to believe Stuart was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis,” the affidavit alleged.