A Lincoln County jury convicted former North Platte police officer Jesse Houpt on two counts of felony vehicular homicide for causing an Interstate 80 crash that killed two of his colleagues.|
Zachary Peters, 26, and Ross Hilsman, 23, were passengers in a sports utility vehicle that Houpt was driving while drunk before it crashed on the interstate east of North Platte early April 16, 2002.
The jury cited Houpt's drinking and reckless driving as aggravating circumstances in its verdict, announced after five hours of deliberations. Houpt faces up to 10 years in prison. He will be sentenced June 2.
Investigators have said the accident occurred after the four off-duty officers spent the night drinking beer and cruising around the canyons southeast of North Platte. Houpt had a blood alcohol content of .15 percent, almost twice the legal limit.
Houpt's defense was that another surviving passenger and officer, Steve Reeves, jerked the steering wheel, causing the accident.
Houpt resigned after the accident and Reeves remains on the force.
What do you think, Was justice served?