PHOENIX (August 15, 2012) – After three days of deliberation, a Maricopa County jury has found Michael John Jakscht (D.O.B. 7/4/63) guilty of manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment for killing four people and injuring five others in a March 2010 collision with ten motorcyclists and three other vehicles. The jury will now deliberate on aggravating factors.
“Today’s verdict underscores my Office’s commitment to the pursuit of justice and the hard work of undeterred prosecutors,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “The selfish and senseless act of driving impaired, from alcohol, drugs or prescribed substances, inevitably will lead to tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the surviving family members of victims who lost their lives and with the victims who are still recovering,” he added.
At roughly 1:00pm on March 25, 2010, Michael Jakscht was driving a 1996 Volvo dump truck eastbound on Carefree Highway when he failed to control the vehicle and collided with ten motorcycles and three other vehicles that were stopped at a red light at North 27th Drive. Three of the motorcycle riders died at the scene and one died later in the hospital. Five other riders were transported to local hospitals with serious or critical injuries.
Police who responded to the scene reported that Jakscht displayed multiple signs and symptoms of impairment, including a high pulse rate, dilated pupils and poor performance in field sobriety tests. A blood sample analysis showed that Jakscht was impaired by central nervous system stimulants, specifically methamphetamine and amphetamine. There was no evidence of pre-impact braking. Throughout his contact with police on the day of the collision, Jakscht did not show any concern or remorse for the injuries and deaths he caused.
On April 8, 2010, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted Jakscht on four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault and seven counts of endangerment. After a 29-day trial, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and a mistrial was declared on August 18, 2011. Judge Welty ordered a directed verdict of not guilty on three of the endangerment counts and a retrial on the remaining 13 charges began on June 4th, 2012.