BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury has acquitted a man of manslaughter and reckless driving in a 2018 crash that killed a motorcyclist.

The jury returned not guilty verdicts Thursday on misdemeanor charges filed against Luciano Dejesus, who prosecutors argued recklessly turned left across eastbound lanes in front of James Morse on Olive Drive, east of Roberts Lane, according to a Public Defender’s office release.

A public defender investigator found an uninvolved witness who testified to seeing a truck sideswipe Dejesus’ Lexus just before the June 22, 2018, crash, causing him to move into oncoming traffic, the release said. The jury deliberated two hours before returning the verdicts.

“As terrible, tragic and senseless the death of Morse is, this isn’t vehicular manslaughter,” Public Defender Peter Kang said. “Dejesus was not intoxicated, using his cellphone or otherwise distracted.”

Assistant Public Defender Tanya Richard and Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hazzard represented Dejesus.


EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story said the crash happened in 2019. It has been corrected.