By ARDESHIR TABRIZIAN
Of Salem Reporter
An agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has been charged with criminally negligent homicide for his role in a collision in March that killed a Salem cyclist, according to court documents.
A Marion County grand jury on Wednesday, Sept. 6, indicted Samuel T. Landis, 38, a special agent of the DEA, on a single count. The charge comes over five months after the collision that killed Marganne Allen, a cyclist and state official.
The charge alleges that the DEA agent killed Allen with “criminal negligence,” according to the indictment. Criminally negligent homicide is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson on Wednesday requested that a warrant be issued for the agent’s arrest and that he be held in jail on $20,000 bail. The Marion County Jail’s roster did not list him as being in custody Wednesday morning.
Under Oregon law, criminal negligence means the person failed to be aware of a “substantial and unjustifiable risk,” and that failure “constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
Grand jury proceedings were held on July 21, Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, according to the indictment. Grand jurors heard from 18 witnesses, including Landis and three others identified as working for the DEA.
Allen, 53, was riding home from her state job when she collided at the intersection of Southeast High and Leslie Streets with a pickup truck that police said was driven by an on-duty DEA agent.
Video obtained by Salem Reporter showed that the driver of the pickup truck sped down Leslie Street, drove past a stop sign without stopping and into the intersection at High Street where the crash occurred.
The Salem Police Department announced three days after the cyclist’s death that it was transferring its investigation of the collision to the Keizer Police Department because it was partners in a task force with the DEA.
Keizer police submitted their initial report to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office on May 12, which subsequently asked for more investigation.
Prosecutors again asked police on Aug. 17 to investigate further, according to Lt. Chris Nelson, Keizer police spokesman.
Nelson said that Keizer investigators “conducted the follow-up” on Aug. 21 and three days later submitted a police report to a supervisor to review. The agency submitted the report to prosecutors on Aug. 28.