Jury Deliberating Civil Case After Tragic Death Of Teen Involving A State Trooper

BRYAN, Texas A Brazos County jury is deadlocked in a civil trial involving the 2011 death of a 14-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a State Trooper's vehicle.

Mark Harding was skateboarding on the access road of Highway 6 near William D. Fitch Parkway with a friend when he was hit.

News 3 has been covering the case with a look at what the jury will decide.

The jury of seven men and five women will decide if Mark Harding died as a result of negligence on his own part, the State of Texas', or a combination of both.

If due to the trooper's fault, they could assess damages.

DPS Trooper Justin Stohler was driving his patrol car when a horrible accident happened around 1 A.M. on September 14, 2011.

14-year-old Mark Harding died after he was hit in the frontage road near Highway 6 and William D. Fitch Parkway in College Station.

"They said no he's gone, and I still can't believe it. I still can't believe he's not here," said Angela Daughtery, a family friend, in a September 14, 2011 interview.

The Harding Family filed a civil suit over the death of their son.

The jury started morning deliberations at 8:25 A.M. Thursday before taking a lunch break at noon and resuming at 1:35.

They became deadlocked around 2:10 P.M. and were sent home just before five.

They also deliberated for 30 minutes Wednesday night after the trial began on Monday.

While Trooper Stohler is not being sued, the State of Texas is because the accident happened while he was on duty in his patrol car.

The Harding Family's attorney Bennie Rush says Harding was not on his skateboard as we'd been told but had gotten tangled up with his friend's skateboard and was bending over to pick it up when the accident happened.

The Harding's attorney believes negligence was involved saying the trooper did not brake at all or swerve before crashing into the boy.

Attorneys representing the State of Texas showed dash cam video of the accident and had police testimony saying Stohler was not reckless, intoxicated, distracted or at fault for the tragic accident.

Judge J.D. Langley has instructed the jury to return at 9 A.M. Friday where both sides will re-argue the case.

So far all parties involved have declined to speak with News 3 on camera.

The jury will decide if Harding's parents should be compensated for damages including funeral expenses and pain and suffering because of the death of their son.

*Previous Story*
A Department of Public Safety State Trooper is in court Thursday as a jury decides a civil case against the State of Texas.

On September 14, 2011, 14-year-old Mark Harding was struck and killed by a DPS Patrol Car along the Highway 6 and William D. Fitch frontage road in College Station while riding a skateboard with another friend.

DPS Trooper Justin Stohler was driving the patrol car when the accident happened around 1 a.m.

The Harding Family filed a civil suit over the death of their son.

The jury started morning deliberations at 8:25 Thursday before taking a lunch break at noon. They are expected to resume deliberations at 1:35 P.M. Thursday.

They also deliberated for 30 minutes Wednesday night after the trial began on Monday.

The jury of seven men and five women will decide if Mark Harding died as a result of negligence, and if so, what damages would be assessed.

News 3's Clay Falls is covering the case at the Brazos County Courthouse and will have the latest Thursday night on News 3.


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