The case against a man accused of causing a fatal traffic accident in Springfield was dismissed before a jury could even deliberate.
Clark County Common Pleas Judge Richard O’Neill granted a motion by the defense during the trial against now 19-year-old Micah Byrd on Sept. 26 — which closed the case for good.
“Defendant’s Rule 29 motion granted,” the court records say. “It is ordered that the case be dismissed with prejudice.”
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The defense makes a Rule 29 motion in nearly every criminal case, but a judge actually granting one is a rarer occurrence.
The motion allows a defense team to argue to the judge that even considering all of the evidence presented in light most favorable to the state — that no reasonable juror could possibly reach a guilty verdict, Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll said.
Byrd’s defense was able to convince the judge he should dismiss the case before it reached the jury.
“Our hearts go out to the family,” Driscoll said. “I stand behind the work that our assistant prosecutors did in this case. We believed that what we had and what we were going to present would’ve been sufficient to make it to a jury.”
The case cannot be criminally tried again because of double jeopardy.
Byrd was accused of causing the death of 35-year-old Jessica Cydrus on June 3, 2018.
At the time, police said that Cydrus was T-boned when Byrd sped through a stop sign at the intersection of Portage Path and John Street.
She died at the scene of the accident.
Heather Kestner, the sister of Cydrus, said the court’s ruling was crushing for her and her family.
“We’ve been waiting for justice. We were still waiting for closure, something,” she said. “I’m not even saying I wanted (Byrd) to go to prison. I just wanted him to be held accountable for something. Even if it meant he lost his license, something. I just feel like it’s horrible.”
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She said the family now has to create its own closure.
“If he would have been found guilty in something, punished in some way, I could get past it,” she said.
This also wasn’t the first tragedy the family has gone through. Cydrus was engaged to Jeff Rife when he was killed in March 2017. Rife was shot on the 500 block of South Clairmont Avenue, and his murder has yet to be solved.
Kestner said the couple’s daughter is torn apart by the losses, but tries to stay strong in honor of her mom and dad.
“She’s going to graduate this year,” Kestner said. “And someday, she’s going to have kids…and I just think, ‘Am I going to be that child’s grandparent?’”
Byrd was indicted last year when prosecutors alleged Byrd was under the influence of marijuana during the crash. His attorney, Jon Paul Rion, said that wasn’t true.
“We’re satisfied that justice occurred. The court was left with a very difficult legal determination to make and obviously we believe (the judge) made the right call,” Rion said.
Rion said lab results came back within a margin of error of the legal amount of marijuana that is allowed in an individual’s system and law enforcement testified during the trial that Byrd did not appear under the influence at the time of the crash.
Rion also told the Springfield News-Sun that his client was speeding at the time of the crash, but that’s only because his brakes weren’t working and he tried to get through the intersection before hitting anyone.
Cydrus’ family is planning a celebration of her life next weekend at the intersection where she was killed.
35 — Jessica Cyrdrus’ age when she was killed in a fatal crash
18 — Age of teen driver who caused accident
29 — Rule that provides for motion of acquittal in court of law
Jessica Cydrus left behind one teenager daughter, Taelor. Cyrdrus’ fiance and Taelor’s father was killed in a Springfield shooting in 2017. The shooting remains unsolved.