Suspect in ODOT employee death set for trial

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A Sperry man facing charges for the highway death of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker last fall will go to trial next month.

Deven Wayne Franklin, 19, charged with first-degree manslaughter, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, is set for trial Nov. 28.

The judge set the date during a disposition docket hearing Wednesday in Washington County District Court via a video link with Franklin, currently being held in the Washington County jail on a $250,000 bond.

Franklin is accused of killing 42-year-old Ira Lee Henderson on Nov. 30, 2011, as Henderson was working on U.S. Highway 75 near Ramona.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, at around 8:30 a.m. Franklin's southbound 2003 Pontiac Grand Am crossed the southbound lane divider line and struck Henderson who was working in a construction zone. He then struck another vehicle before coming to rest in the outside lanes of the highway.

Henderson died at the scene of the accident — his death due to "multiple blunt force injuries," according to the medical examiner's office which performed an autopsy the same day.

A test performed on a blood sample taken from Franklin within an hour of the accident showed traces of THC in his blood, indicating Franklin had been under the influence of marijuana, impairing his "ability to safely drive a motor vehicle," according to the probable cause affidavit.

The report said additionally the trooper at the scene found a wooden box between the driver's seat and center console bearing marijuana and, underneath the car, a smoking pipe.

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