Lake City man guilty of manslaughter on 2017 wreck

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LAKE CITY, Ark. – A Lake City man involved in a 2017 fatal car accident in Craighead County, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday and will serve three years in the Arkansas Department of Correction, Craighead County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charlene Henry said.

John Ridge, 35, was originally charged with negligent homicide and second-degree battery and was scheduled to be tried this week. He entered his plea Monday afternoon in Craighead County Circuit Court.

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John Ridge.jpg
Ridge. Source: Prosecutor’s office

Police said Ridge was traveling east on Arkansas 18 in Craighead County on June 24, 2017, when his car crossed the centerline and collided with a vehicle driven by Kenneth Jackson. A juvenile in Jackson’s vehicle was injured, police said.

A state Crime Lab report indicated Ridge’s blood sample taken after the crash tested positive for benzodiazepines, cannabinoids and methamphetamine.

Ridge’s attorney, Arlon Woodruff of Lake City, sought suppression of the result of Ridge’s blood test, saying it was taken illegally. He argued that the defendant was not advised of his rights by the Arkansas State Police pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-65-204 (d) (1-3). The court agreed with the defendant’s motion and suppressed the evidence of intoxication.

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Jackson was a leader in the Blytheville arts community

“This crime robbed a family of a beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather,” Henry said. “Even though the evidence was suppressed, our office did not give up prosecution of this crime. The Craighead County Prosecuting Attorney’s office hopes the plea provides some closure to the family and community of Kenneth Jackson.”

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