SUPREME COURT OF ARKANSAS
CHARLES W. UTLEY,
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
Opinion Delivered June 1, 2006
APPEAL FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY
HON. RALPH EDWIN WILSON, JR., JUDGE,
CIRCUIT COURT AFFIRMED; COURT OF
JIM GUNTER, Associate Justice
Appellant Charles Utley, an employee of Knight’s Disposal, was convicted by a jury
of negligent homicide and sentenced to one year in the county jail and a fine of $1,000.00.
He appeals, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.
On January 17, 2003, Mr. Utley was driving a loaded garbage truck in the southbound
lane of Highway 61 near Blytheville. Brent Young was traveling in the northbound lane of
Highway 61, and W.R. Perdue was in a separate car behind Mr. Young. Mr. Young testified
that, as he crossed a bridge, he saw Mr. Utley’s truck coming toward him cross the center
line. Mr. Young swerved to get out of the truck’s way, and the truck nicked Mr. Young’s car,
shattering his window, and hit the bed of his truck. Mr. Utley’s truck then collided with Mr.
Perdue’s pickup truck on the bridge. Mr. Perdue’s truck exploded, and he was killed.
James Henderson was working at a cemetery near the bridge at the time of the
accident. He testified that he had his back to the bridge when he heard something “go boom.”
He turned around and saw a big blaze of fire on the bridge and Mr. Utley’s truck sliding past
the bridge and into the ditch. He also testified that he did not hear anything before the
Officer James Creecy arrived at the scene at 1:15 p.m. He testified that he saw some
skid marks, gouges, and yaws, or marks a vehicle makes when it is turning and bearing down
instead of braking, between Mr. Utley’s truck and Mr. Young’s vehicle. All of these marks
were in the northbound lane, indicating, first, that Mr. Utley was in the northbound lane and,
second, that Mr. Utley did not swerve or apply his brakes before hitting Mr. Young. Officer
Creecy testified that h