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State v. Vanberkom

Supreme Court of North Dakota

July 11, 2018

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Brian Keith Vanberkom, Defendant and Appellant

          Appeal from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central Judicial District, the Honorable Richard L. Hagar, Judge.

          Wade G. Enget, State's Attorney, Stanley, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee.

          Eric P. Baumann (argued) and Anthony J. Cooper (on brief), third-year law student, under the Rule on Limited Practice of Law by Law Students, Minot, N.D., for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          Tufte, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Brian Vanberkom appeals from a criminal judgment entered after the district court found him guilty of reckless driving. Because there was sufficient evidence of reckless driving and double jeopardy did not bar prosecution, we affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] In April 2017, Deputy Robert VanWinkle was dispatched to a one-vehicle crash at an intersection on Highway 8 in Mountrail County. The intersection is a "T" intersection, where a westbound roadway ends when it meets Highway 8. Deputy VanWinkle found the vehicle at rest approximately 150 yards from the road. He testified that the vehicle appeared to have been traveling westbound and that skid marks on the road started before the stop sign at the intersection and extended across the road, where the car went through a fence and into a slough.

         [¶ 3] According to Deputy VanWinkle, Vanberkom was the only occupant of the vehicle and stated he was coming from Kenmare. Deputy VanWinkle concluded that speed was a factor in the crash. When asked whether he had been drinking that night, Vanberkom replied that he "drank approximately 10 to 12 beers" and told Deputy VanWinkle he should not have been driving.

         [¶ 4] Vanberkom was cited for three moving violations, including N.D.C.C. § 39-09-01.1 ("Care required in operating vehicle"). He was also charged with reckless driving. The district court found Vanberkom guilty of reckless driving in violation of N.D.C.C. § 39-08-03.

         II

         [¶ 5] Vanberkom argues there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty of reckless driving.

In reviewing sufficiency of the evidence challenges, we review the record to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that could allow a jury to draw a reasonable inference in favor of the conviction. State v. Kinsella, 2011 ND 88, ¶ 7, 796 N.W.2d 678 (quoting State v. Wanner, 2010 ND 121, ¶ 9, 784 N.W.2d 143). "The defendant bears the burden of showing the evidence reveals no reasonable inference of guilt when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict." Id. We do not reweigh conflicting evidence or judge the credibility of witnesses. Id. State v. Truelove, 2017 ND 283, ¶ 7, 904 N.W.2d 342. A person is guilty of reckless driving "if the person drives a vehicle: 1. Recklessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others; or 2. Without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or the property of another." N.D.C.C. § 39-08-03.

         [¶ 6] There was evidence presented sufficient to support a conviction under subsection 2. Vanberkom was the only occupant of the vehicle. He stated he was coming from Kenmare and never claimed any other person drove. Deputy VanWinkle testified that skid marks on the road started before the stop sign and went across the road where the car went into a slough; that the vehicle came to rest approximately 150 yards from the road; that a fence was demolished; that speed was a factor in the crash; that Vanberkom acknowledged that he "drank approximately 10 to 12 beers"; and that Vanberkom told him he should not have been driving. Reviewing this evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution and giving the ...


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