Truck driver found guilty in Raleigh cyclist death

Clifton Paul Ellis (Courtesy: Wake County Sheriff's Office)
July 12, 2013 1:51:02 PM PDT
A jury found a truck driver guilty of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed Friday in the death of a North Carolina state official.

Clifton Paul Ellis hit Steven Jordan, the Director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, with his logging truck as Jordan rode his bicycle on Louisburg Road in North Raleigh in July 2012.

Prosecutors said Jordan, 49, was headed north on Louisburg in the far right lane when the truck attempted to pass him. They said Ellis did not move over far enough and hit Jordan.

Ellis told investigators he couldn't move over further because of traffic in the center lane.

In Court Friday, Jordan's widow asked a judge not to sentence Ellis to jail time. Angela Jordan even spoke to Ellis and hugged him.

"I told him I knew this was hard, that I, I did not believe he set out to hurt my husband," she explained.

She said she has yet to recover from her husband's death.

"People say it will take time, but I find it very hard to believe that if I live to be 80 years old I will still not find myself crying every day," she said.

Ellis apologized for what happened.

"It was a terrible, terrible tragedy that is with me every day.  I am so sorry," he offered.

The judge sentenced Ellis to two years of probation. Each of those two years - during the week of July Fourth - the anniversary of the crash - Ellis will have to perform 12 hours of community service.

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