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June 11, 2012 - 4:46pm

Driver of golf cart involved in fatal accident enters a guilty plea to negligent homicide

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron.

The 18-year-old Byron woman who is accused of causing the death of a friend entered a guilty plea today to negligent homicide and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Cortney L. Greene entered what is known as an "Alford Plea." The plea indicates she believes she would be convicted if the case went to trial, but does not admit factual guilt.

The District Attorney's Office agreed to the plea because Greene is facing a potential lawsuit in connect with the death of Zachary J. Rusin, 18, of Holley.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell recited the evidence against Green, which Green then agreed was sufficient for a likely conviction.

According to Finnell, Greene was operating all-black golf cart in the middle of northbound Route 237 just seven minutes after midnight, Nov. 26, when a car driven by Emmaleigh R. Odom, 19, of Pavilion, crested a hill near Warboys Road and stuck the golf cart.

Finnell said that with the hill and the lighting conditions, Odom had no time to react before her car struck the cart.

A blood alcohol test, Finnell said, found that Greene had a BAC of .04 and there were traces of marijuana in her blood.

Both Greene and Rusin were ejected from the vehicle. Rusin succumbed to his injuries two days later.

The maximum penalty for the homicide charge is four years in prison. Greene will also likely lose her driving privileges.

The plea did not include a sentence cap.

Greene will be sentenced Sept. 6.

Mark Brudz
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This story is just sad, sad for the young man who lost his life and hios family, sad for miss Odom who will live with the moment, and sad for Miss Greene for a moment that she will never be able to take back.

david spaulding
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.04 bac and a trace of marijuana.....she should have gotten better councel

Kyle Couchman
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I have to disagree David, this is actually a better outcome then she could have hoped for. The actuality of being responsible for not only her friends death but the emotional scarring of the driver that really had no fault or responsibility, was jsut in the wrong place at the wrong time. No punishment meted out by the judge or jury can match what this woman would do to herself in the long haul, especially with her already using drugs and alcohol. Maybe she will get the help to avert a lifelong escape into these substances to escape her own conscience.

Howard B. Owens
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You're not going to do any better, really, than Tom Burns.

Scott Birkby
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So, she couldn't afford Joel Daniels?

Doug Yeomans
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Not to point fingers or to try and lay blame, but I think both parties involved (in the golf cart) were equally culpable. Were they taking turns driving the cart? Had they both been drinking? A .04% BAC is barely buzzed and if only trace amounts of THC were found in Cortney's system, then she certainly didn't ingest any that night. How intoxicated was Zachary and had he also driven the golf cart?

The whole thing is just tragic and I can't see prison as an option in this situation. What purpose would it serve? I love how people are so quick to judge someone as having a drug problem if they test positive for THC. Do we think that someone has a drinking/drug problem when they're enjoying whiskey on the rocks or a nice pint of stout?

The BAC of .04% found in Courtney's system makes her legally responsible but it may not have had anything to do with the accident. These kinds of accidents happen to people who haven't been drinking at all.

Not only was the accident tragic, but the blame, guilt and punishment may be tragic as well.

Before any of you go "off" on me, think hard about the things you may have done and gotten away with it because nothing bad happened. Did you ever go out to dinner, have a few glasses of wine and then drive home? If so, you're just as guilty as Courtney. The only difference is that nothing bad happened to you. Have you ever gone to any parties over the decades and maybe gotten a little bit wild when someone broke out a spliff to pass around the bon fire? Maybe pot isn't something you regularly partake of but at certain times you just feel a little daring and want to break out of the mold. These thoughts are just something to ponder before passing judgement.

matt riggi
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right on!

Howard B. Owens
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Don't read too much into my word "trace." No amount was given. I was searching for a word that would indicate some presence of marijuana without being able to give a measurement.

Doug Yeomans
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Thanks for the clarification, Howard. I still stand by what I wrote, even if she had smoked some marijuana that night.

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