SUV Driver who hit crowd in Cedar Rapids found not guilty

August 26, 2023 by No Comments

On Thursday, a verdict was reached by a jury in Linn County, declaring David Alan Huston innocent of two charges related to an incident that occurred on June 24, 2022. In this incident, Huston drove his pickup truck through a gathering of protesters advocating for pro-abortion views in Cedar Rapids.

Huston had been facing charges of committing assault with a dangerous weapon (in this case, a vehicle), categorized as an aggravated misdemeanor, as well as leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, considered a serious misdemeanor. The incident took place in front of the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids and was prompted by a protest in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on that same day.

The jury’s decision followed a trial that spanned three days. During this trial, Kyleigh Wright, an active participant in the protest, provided testimony indicating that Huston’s truck maneuvered around another vehicle before plowing through the crowd, ultimately hitting her. In response, she used her sign to strike the truck and even kicked it. Wright subsequently sought medical attention due to injuries incurred during the incident.

Ayla Boylen, another individual taking part in the protest, also offered her account of the event. Boylen stated that Huston’s truck approached the crowd, specifically where she and Wright were stationed at a crosswalk. Their purpose was to ensure the safety of fellow protesters crossing the street as the demonstration concluded. Boylen recounted that after coming to a stop, Huston’s truck continued moving forward through the assembled crowd. She attempted to intervene to prevent further injuries to others.

At the trial, Huston and his family members, including his wife Lisa and daughter Holly, who were present in the truck during the incident, provided their testimony. Huston asserted that he proceeded forward as the traffic light turned green, and he navigated around a halted vehicle to exercise his right of way granted by the green signal. He depicted being surrounded by an agitated assembly of protesters who were assaulting his truck as he advanced. Both Lisa and Holly, in their testimonies, conveyed their fear for their safety. They additionally alleged that protesters were attempting to gain access to the vehicle.

Huston explained that he did not halt his vehicle because he was unaware of having struck anyone, and he believed it was unsafe to do so.

Throughout the trial, video footage of the incident, captured by cameras situated on the federal courthouse building near the protest site, was presented by both the prosecution — led by Heather Jackson, an Assistant County Attorney from Black Hawk County — and the defense, represented by attorneys Mark Brown and Mark Meyer.

The charges against Huston were filed on August 28, 2022, around two months after the incident. Following five and a half hours of deliberation on Thursday, the jury pronounced Huston not guilty on both counts.

The case was overseen by the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office to avert any potential conflicts of interest, as Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks had attended the June 2022 protest. However, Maybanks did not personally witness Huston driving through the protesters while they were crossing the street.

An investigation conducted by the Boston Globe revealed that between May 25, 2020, and September 30, 2021, there were 139 instances of vehicles traversing through groups of protesters. Out of these occurrences, charges were pressed in only 65 cases, with just four drivers ultimately being found guilty.

In a separate incident in Des Moines, an SUV carrying Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds struck activist Jaylen Cavil on June 15, 2020. However, no charges were brought forth as a result of this incident. Similarly, in Iowa City, a driver who admitted to intentionally hitting protesters on August 21, 2020, received a deferred judgment, indicating that his record will be expunged by 2024.

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