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A 28-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging that he hit and killed a teen while texting behind the wheel last year.
Jeffery Lloyd Bascom entered the plea on Wednesday during a preliminary hearing in 8th District Court after a judge found there was enough evidence for the man to stand trial on the charge of automobile homicide involving the use of a hand-held wireless communication device, a second-degree felony.
Before the hearing began, prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss a second charge, obstruction of justice, a third-degree felony.
Vernal police say Thomas LaVelle Clark, 15, and a friend were walking on the shoulder of 500 West near 1300 South at about 9 p.m. on Sept. 2 when a Dodge pickup driven by Bascom drifted off the road and hit Clark. Police allege Bascom was texting at the time.
Clark was taken to a hospital and died the next day.
A three-day jury trial was scheduled to begin on May 29. Bascom will be back in court on April 24 for a pretrial conference.
Meanwhile, the victim's family has filed a wrongful death suit against Bascom.