BOISE, Idaho — A 19-year-old Boise man has been sentenced to community service and probation for hitting and killing a little boy with his pickup truck as the child rode his bicycle along Amity Road.
Conner Brant received a withheld judgment in the case, meaning that the misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge could be erased from his criminal record if he successfully completes his probation.
Seven-year-old Eduard Prokopchuk of Nampa was riding with a group of other children July 18, 2019 when Brant's pickup drifted over the fog line and hit him. The impact flung Eduard into a fence along the road, knocking him unconscious.
The boy was rushed by paramedics to St. Luke's Children's Hospital, where he died from his injuries the next day.
Brant was charged with a felony in the case after prosecutors said there was evidence he was using Snapchat on his cell phone when he hit Eduard. A forensic analysis of the suspect's phone showed that he had sent a message on Snapchat at 7:25 p.m.; the first 911 call about the collision was made 66 seconds later.
A judge ordered the felony charge dropped in February, saying there was not enough evidence that Brant was using his cellphone when the crash happened. Brant's attorney, Mark Manweiler had argued that 66 seconds was too long a gap to say definitively that Brant was looking at his phone when his truck drifted toward Eduard, and noted that at the time, no county or state ordinance or law specifically prohibited using a cell phone behind the wheel.
The Idaho Legislature has since passed a law banning handheld use of cellphones or other electronic devices. The law went into effect statewide July 1.
Brant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter Tuesday. Prosecutors asked the judge to hand down a year-long jail sentence, with one month suspended.
Judge Daniel Steckel instead handed down a suspended jail sentence and community service. Brant was also ordered to spend two years on unsupervised probation and complete a safe driving class and a thinking errors class.
His driver's license will be suspended for five years.
“I want to extend my condolences to the victim’s family and thank the Ada County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work investigating this case,” Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts said in a statement.