SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1CR32-151 04/04/06

 

GROSSLY NEGLIGENT OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE (DEATH RESULTING)

23 V.S.A. 1091(b)(3)

 

The State has charged (Def)_______________ with grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle on a public highway, with death resulting, as follows:

[Read the charge.]

Every crime is made up of essential elements. Before (Def)_______________ can be found guilty of the charge, the State must have proven each of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, the essential elements are that on the date and at the place alleged,

(1) (Def)_______________;

(2) operated a motor vehicle;

(3) the operation occurred on a public highway;

(4) (Def)_______________ operated [his] [her] motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner; and

(5) (Def)_______________s grossly negligent operation of [his] [her] motor vehicle caused the death of (victim)_______________.

The first essential element is that (Def)_______________ is the person who committed the alleged acts.

The second essential element is that (Def)_______________ operated a motor vehicle.

The term operate, as applied to motor vehicles, includes driving, and it also includes an attempt to operate. The word operate covers all matters and things connected with the presence and use of motor vehicles on the highway.

The definition of motor vehicle includes all vehicles propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power [except tractors used entirely for work on the farm, vehicles running only upon stationary rails or tracks, motorized highway building equipment, road making appliances, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or implements of husbandry, or tracked vehicles].

The third essential element is that (Def)_______________ operated the motor vehicle on a public highway. The term public highway is defined to include all parts of any roadway, street, bridge, culvert, [square, fairground] or other place open temporarily or permanently to public or general circulation of vehicles [and it also includes a way laid out under authority of law].

The fourth essential element is that (Def)_______________ operated [his] [her] motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

Negligence is a failure by a driver to exercise ordinary care under the circumstances. Gross negligence is more than ordinary negligence. Gross negligence is not an absolute term, but a relative one. The degree of care required increases with the risk of harm. Gross negligence is conduct involving a gross deviation from the care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances. Gross negligence may consist of not doing something which a reasonably prudent person would do; it may also consist of doing something which a reasonably prudent person would not do.

[In deciding whether (Def)_______________ operated [his] [her] vehicle in a grossly negligent manner, you may consider Vermont state law concerning the following rules of the road:]

[No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. Speed shall be controlled as necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other object on or adjacent to the highway.]

[If traffic-control signals are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if necessary, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.]

[Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway, shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary, and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.]

[Drivers have a duty to maintain proper and reasonable control over their vehicles. The test of control is the ability to stop as quickly and as easily as the circumstances may reasonably be expected to require.]

[Drivers also have a duty to look out for other persons and property on the highways, and to use reasonable diligence to avoid inflicting injuries on such persons or property. The circumstances of each case must determine the degree of alertness that is necessary.]

[Safety rules are not absolute. You may consider them in determining whether or not (Def)_______________s conduct was grossly negligent under the circumstances.]

The last essential element is that (Def)_______________s grossly negligent operation of [his] [her] motor vehicle caused the death of (victim)_______________. The State must have proven that (Def)_______________s acts produced (victim)_______________s death in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause. [An efficient intervening cause would be an unexpected, independent force that broke the connection between (Def)_______________s acts and the resulting death.] [You also must conclude that, but for (Def)_______________s gross negligence, (victim)_______________s death would not have occurred.]

If the State has not proven each of the essential elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find (Def)_______________ not guilty. However, if the State has proven all of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must return a verdict of guilty.