from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Steven J.
Wilson appeals his convictions of (1) operating a motor
vehicle while intoxicated, (2) first-degree eluding, and (3)
vehicular homicide by reckless driving or eluding, raising
claims of insufficient evidence to support the third count
and failure by the district court to merge the first two
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
took a law enforcement officer on a high-speed chase, hit a
dip in the road, and crashed. His passenger died.
State charged Jerrell Wilson with (1) vehicular homicide by
operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, (2) first-degree
eluding, and (3) vehicular homicide by reckless driving or
eluding. See Iowa Code §§ 707.6A(1);
321.279(3); 707.6A(2)(a); 707.6A(2)(b) (2016). On the first
count, the jury found Wilson guilty of the lesser included
offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. On
the second and third counts, the jury found him guilty as
charged. Wilson appealed following imposition of sentence. He
argues (1) the jury's finding of guilt on the third count
was not supported by sufficient evidence and (2) his
convictions on the first two counts should have merged
Sufficiency of the Evidence-Vehicular Homicide by Reckless
Driving or Eluding
contends "the evidence was not sufficient to prove (1)
[he] drove the vehicle in a reckless manner as
necessary for the reckless driving alternative; and (2) that
an adequate causal connection existed as required for both
the reckless driving alternative and the eluding
alternative." Because his attorney failed to move for
judgment of acquittal on these grounds, Wilson concedes the
issue must be considered under an
ineffective assistance claims are generally addressed in
postconviction-relief proceedings, "claims of
ineffective assistance for failure to challenge sufficiency
of the evidence may be raised on direct appeal." See
State v. Halverson, 857 N.W.2d 632, 639 (Iowa 2015)
(citations omitted). On our de novo review, we must decide
whether a motion for judgment of acquittal by trial counsel
"would have been meritorious had it been made."
See State v. Harris, 891 N.W.2d 182, 186 (Iowa
jury was instructed the State would have to prove the
following elements of homicide by vehicle-reckless driving or
Element 1. On or about the 11th day of November, 2016, in
Woodbury County, Iowa, Defendant Jerell Wilson was driving a
Element 2. At that time and place, Defendant Jerell Wilson
a. was driving the vehicle in a reckless manner; or
b. was eluding or attempting to elude a law enforcement