Shocking plea deal could lead to new law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Shocking plea deal could lead to new law

Posted: Updated:
Assistant Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds chats with KWWL via Facetime. Assistant Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds chats with KWWL via Facetime.

We are taking a closer look at a plea agreement which shocked a community.

Emmalee Jacobs was a freshman at Iowa State last winter when she was hit by a campus bus on her way to a final exam.

Emmalee died from her injuries.

Benjamin Clague is accused of being behind the wheel of the Cy-Ride bus that hit Emmalee.

Clague never came forward but was arrested and charged more than a month later.

This week Clague accepted a plea agreement that will require him to serve just 30 days in jail and pay a $100 fine.

We are told the plea deal all started with Iowa Code Section 321.261, a section First Assistant Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds says can be interpreted in more than one way.

"If you read the statute it is not very will written it's subject to judicial interpretation as we saw in this case and our office is seeking a legislative fix," Reynolds told us via Facetime.

Reynolds says in the case involving the death of Emmalee Jacobs, the judge concluded based on the statute that prosecutors must prove Clague knew he hit Emmalee right when he hit her.

It's something Reynolds says they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt, their evidence could only prove Clague became aware about 20 minutes after he is accused of hitting Emmalee.

This is what lead to the plea deal that shocked so many people.

"We were able to find a charge that did fit and we were able to come to an agreement," Reynolds says.

Clague plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, all other charges including a hit-and-run resulting in death, were dropped because they could not be proven.

Now prosecutors want to make sure there is a new law to come, to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"What we would like to call Emmalee's Law to make it clear that the statute does apply to people who leave the scene of the accident and then obtain knowledge that they were in an accident, there's some necessary legislative updating and drafting that needs to occur so that we don't see this in the future," says Reynolds.

She tells us she will do whatever she can to help make the change in law.

Reynolds has already reached out to Representative Lisa Heddens to see if she could help draft Emmalee's Law.

Benjamin Clague will be sentenced Friday afternoon in Story County.

Emmalee's father plans to make a statement following the sentencing.

Powered by Frankly