Trial date set for Sperry man accused in ODOT worker death

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A Sperry man who more than one year ago struck and killed an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker in a highway construction zone is now set for trial.

Nineteen-year-old Deven Wayne Franklin, now facing a charge of first-degree manslaughter, on Wednesday appeared in Washington County District Court where a judge set him for a Feb. 25 trial date next year.

He is due next to appear in court on Dec. 14, the cut-off date for any motions.

Franklin, also facing charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, 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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