NEWMARKET, Ont. -- Anger and tears spilled out in a local courtroom Thursday after a man accused of texting while driving and causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist was found not guilty.
Michael Rogers, 24, of Oshawa, Ont., was on trial for dangerous driving causing death and three counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm for a horrific July 4, 2010, accident near Orillia, Ont.
Christopher Sprecker, 55, was out for a motorcycle ride with about 10 buddies, heading north on Highway 12, when he was killed.
Sprecker was hit by Rogers’s BMW and his leg was severed.
Three other riders, David Yeoman, Robert McEachern and Peter Campagna, suffered serious injuries.
All are Barrie, Ont., residents and members of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club, which raises funds for grieving children.
Crown attorney Dave Russell alleged Rogers was looking at a text message when he swerved out of his lane and into the path of the riders.
But defence lawyer Lydia Riva argued Rogers committed no crime and the accident was a “moment of inattention,” not an act of dangerous driving as defined by the Criminal Code.
In the end, Justice Cory Gilmore agreed with the defence and could not find, beyond reasonable doubt, that Rogers was criminally responsible.
He walked out of court a free man.
As the verdict was announced, Sprecker’s daughter and other family and friends burst into tears.