HANSEN — An Eden man was driving drunk on Memorial Day when he caused a crash south of the Hansen Bridge that killed his longtime girlfriend, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jody Dee Neaderhiser, 51, was arraigned Tuesday in Twin Falls County Magistrate Court on a felony count of vehicular manslaughter.
Prosecutors say Neaderhiser’s blood alcohol level was 0.259 — more than three times the legal limit to drive in Idaho — when he ran a stop sign and caused the crash that killed his passenger, 51-year-old Evette Phillips.
Idaho State Police responded to the crash just before 10 p.m. May 30 south of the Hansen Bridge at Idaho Highway 50 and 3800 East. After an extensive investigation that included a crash reconstruction, investigators determined Neaderhiser, who was northbound on 3800 East in a Ford F150, ran the stop sign at Idaho 50 and was hit by a Dodge 2500 pickup driving west on the highway.
The impact of the collision was so severe that it sheared off the passenger side door of Neaderhiser’s F150 pickup, sent the truck’s engine block flying more than 150 feet and pried loose a bed cover from the pickup, an ISP trooper wrote in a sworn affidavit.
Phillips was pronounced dead at the scene while Neaderhiser was taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. The driver of the Dodge pickup, Trevor Dowd, 44, of Twin Falls and his son, 21-year-old Trell Dowd, were also taken to the Twin Falls hospital.
A blood draw at the hospital showed Neaderhiser’s blood alcohol level was 0.259, court documents said. Neaderhiser told investigators he drank three or four beers on Memorial Day, drinking the last one about an hour before the crash.
But troopers on the scene reported Neaderhiser smelled of alcohol and that they found “several opened Natural Light beer cans lying on the ground near the Ford F150 … an open Natural Light beer can in a blue beer Koozie on the passenger side floor board … (and) an opened Natural Light beer can on the driver’s side floor board.”
A $100,000 warrant for Neaderhiser’s arrest was issued July 12, and he was arrested Monday by the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office, court records said.
His defense attorney, Steven McRae, said his client was out of town when the warrant was first issued and was on his way to turn himself in Monday when he was arrested during a traffic stop. McRae asked Magistrate Judge Roger Harris to reduce the bond.
But Deputy Prosecutor Stan Holloway successfully argued for the bond to be kept at $100,000, calling Neaderhiser’s prior record “horrible and significant” and citing a 2011 driving-under-the-influence conviction and 15 prior instances in which Neaderhiser failed to appear for scheduled court dates.
Harris said he sympathized with Neaderhiser’s loss but that $100,000 bond was appropriate.
If convicted, Neaderhiser faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.