A Madison woman whose actions prosecutors say led to the death of 22-year-old Columbus resident Joshua Gasper recently submitted a written not-guilty plea regarding two offenses stemming from a two-vehicle accident occurring in early August, according to the Platte County Court Clerk’s office.
Daisy Gonzalez, 19, pleaded not guilty to motor vehicle homicide, a Class I misdemeanor, and aiding and abetting no proof of financial responsibility, a Class II misdemeanor. The Class I offense carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. The Class II misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
In the wake of the Aug. 2 accident, Gonzalez was arrested on a warrant Friday, Sept. 21, after an investigation was completed, according to court records.
The accident, as previously reported by The Telegram, occurred about 10 p.m. Aug. 2 near the intersection of U.S. Highway 91 and 490th Street, located near Humphrey. An investigation conducted by the Platte County Sheriff’s Office determined that a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country driven by the defendant collided with a 2008 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by the deceased.
An investigation determined that Gonzalez had been traveling eastbound on 490th Street prior to the accident. Gonzalez reportedly halted at the intersection’s stop sign before proceeding eastbound onto Highway 91, according to information contained in a filed arrest affidavit.
The investigation, the affidavit says, indicated that Gasper attempted to stop his motorcycle before losing control and sliding head-on into the van. The motorcycle left skid marks in the westbound lane prior to impact. It was determined that Gonzalez failed to yield to the motorcycle and that she did see the westbound traveling bike coming toward her while stopped, misjudged its distance and pulled into the intersection, according to the affidavit.
At the time of the crash, court records show Gonzalez was aware that there was "no current Proof of Financial Responsibility" on the van, which deputies determined was registered to her mother.
Responding law enforcement was unable to speak with Gasper due to the severity of his injuries, and it was noted that no traffic control devices or stop signs were present for westbound traffic, meaning at the time of the accident, Gasper had the right of way.
Gasper was taken by Life Net Helicopter to Creighton Hospital and Trauma Center in Omaha, where he was subsequently pronounced brain dead the morning of Aug. 7. At the request of Platte County Attorney Carl Hart, an autopsy performed Aug. 12 by Dr. Erin Linde at the Douglas County Morgue found that the preliminary cause of death was from blunt force trauma.
The results of the autopsy were subsequently accessed by the county, which court records show concluded that Gasper’s death was directly associated with complications stemming from the accident.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled to be held at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 11 in Platte
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.