Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, John G. Linn, Judge.
Defendant appeals the sentence imposed upon his conviction for vehicular homicide, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.6A(2) (2011).
Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Martha J. Lucey, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, Patrick J. Jackson, County Attorney, and Tyron Rogers, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.
Levi Swanson appeals the sentence imposed upon his conviction for vehicular homicide, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.6A(2) (2011). On appeal, he contends the district court abused its discretion by imposing incarceration for a term not to exceed ten years and failed to provide adequate reasoning for imposing consecutive sentences. He asks that we vacate his sentence and remand for resentencing. Because the sentencing court considered proper factors, did not employ a fixed sentencing policy, and gave adequate reasons for imposing consecutive sentences, we affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
On March 23, 2012, a concerned citizen called dispatch to warn that she had witnessed an erratic driver on the road. The citizen provided a description of the car as well as the license plate number. Louisa County Deputy Sheriff Rick Cook received a call from dispatch about the driver. He then began searching for the car that had been reported. He found it and began to follow. Deputy Sheriff Cook observed two figures in the front seat of the vehicle. He saw the passenger moving around in such a way that indicated to him that the passenger was attempting to hide something in the vehicle. Cook then decided to stop the vehicle for an investigatory search.
The deputy sheriff activated his overhead red and blue flashing lights. The vehicle did not stop, so he then activated his siren. Cook also honked the car's horn in an attempt to get the driver's attention. Because the vehicle still did not stop, the deputy sheriff decided to pull alongside the moving vehicle to ensure the driver saw his patrol vehicle. As he switched lanes to do so, the car accelerated. Deputy Sheriff Cook then radioed dispatch, alerting that the car was not yielding and he was in pursuit.
Cook testified he reached a speed of 120 miles per hour while in pursuit of the vehicle. The vehicle in question still eluded him. Cook lost sight of the vehicle as it rounded a corner that led to a straightaway into Mediapolis.
Deputy Sheriff Cook did not see the vehicle again until he drove through the town of Mediapolis. He found it crashed into a tree in front of a house. The driver's side was up in the tree, and the passenger side was lower to the ground. It took approximately forty-five minutes after back-up and medical personnel arrived to remove the occupants from the vehicle. The passenger, Kylan Burrell, was pronounced dead at the scene. An officer assisting with the technical collision investigation estimated the car was traveling ninety miles per hour at the time of the accident. In contrast, the speed limit on the portion of road was thirty-five miles per hour.
The driver, Swanson, was charged with vehicular homicide, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.6A(2). A jury trial commenced on September 11, 2012, and Swanson was found guilty as charged.
The sentencing hearing took place on October 22, 2012. The State recommended Swanson be incarcerated and sentenced to a ten-year term of imprisonment. The State also recommended his sentence run consecutively to his previously suspended sentence for ...