Was he asleep or overly medicated? Was it an accident or crime? A Polk County jury is deliberating those questions in the case against Loren Bishop.
In closing arguments Monday afternoon, prosecutors said Bishop was abusing methadone and oxycodone when he crashed his SUV through Mary Miller’s house.
“Crashed through a fence, crashed into a bush and over a hill, a wall and then become airborne right into the Gerald’s home. And at no time did any of that wake him. None of that woke him up,” said assistant Polk County attorney Brendan Greiner.
Bishop told police he had fallen asleep at the wheel and he had only taken a muscle relaxant. But tests showed he had five different prescriptions in his system.
The state argues he wasn’t taking his medications as directed by his doctors. Bishop’s defense maintains he “played it by the book” when he filled his prescriptions.
While his attorney admits he is responsible for what happened, she says Bishop isn’t guilty of a crime.
“We don’t dispute that Mr. Bishop was behind the wheel. We dispute the cause because there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bishop was improperly taking the medication on Jan. 22nd,” said attorney Jennifer Larson.
The jury has three options when deciding Bishop’s fate. They could find him guilty as charged — that is guilty of homicide by vehicle. Or they could find him guilty of operating a vehicle while under a controlled substance and the final option is not guilty. Vehicular homicide carries a penalty of 25 years in prison.