Trial of Jack McCaffery sheds light on what led to misdemeanor charges
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Trial of Jack McCaffery sheds light on what led to misdemeanor charges

Sep 12, 2023

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Testimony in a Johnson County court Tuesday was the first time we learned what happened the day a 16-year-old struck and killed a pedestrian in Iowa City, KCRG reports.

The driver was Jack McCaffery, son of Iowa head basketball coach, Fran McCaffery.

None of the McCafferys were in the courtroom, including the accused, who is facing amisdemeanor charge of not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The judge waived his appearance.

KCRG-TV9 filed an open records request with the Iowa City Police Department asking for the crash report, body camera footage, and more. The ICPD denied that request, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation.

The 911 call was played in court, where you could hear Jack McCaffery explaining to police that he had just hit a man with his vehicle.

“I was right outside the Walnut Ridge neighborhood,” he said in the recording. “I was driving by, and this guy ran right in front of my car, and I hit him.”

Eliza Ghabel, a realtor, was near the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Kennedy Parkway on May 22nd when the crash happened. She was one of the first to stop and help console the young driver.

“I asked what happened, I wanted to console him because he looked very emotional, and he said to me he ran out in front of me,” she testified.

Witnesses said traffic had slowed as a driver waved Corey Hite, a jogger, across the road. That was when witnesses said they saw McCaffery hit Hite with his vehicle sending him into the air. He later died.

Body camera footage shows Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery arriving on the scene. Testing showed Jack McCaffery was sober and not using his phone, but they weren’t able to determine if he was speeding. Attorney Jacob Behnke said the law requires drivers to yield, and McCaffery didn’t.

“The fact of the matter is the defendant was driving a vehicle; there’s a pedestrian in view, and he struck them causing death,” said Behnke.

The defense said McCaffery didn’t have the pedestrian "in view" and that a mail truck blocked his perspective. An officer testified that a witness waved that jogger through the intersection, which has a sign and markings but no traffic lights emphasizing the crosswalk.

“To be able to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, you have to have the ability to be able to make the decision to yield,”

The judge didn’t hand down a verdict and said he would give a written ruling in the future.