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Jury finds driver’s father innocent in triathlete’s death

November 26, 1997

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) _ A jury on Tuesday found a Rockville man innocent of manslaughter, vehicular homicide and drunken driving charges in the death of a masters triathlete killed while training for a 3,000-mile bicycle race.

However, the jury found Ronald Rinehart, 38, guilty of lesser charges related to the accident last April on a winding Maryland road that killed 57-year-old Judith Flannery of Chevy Chase, Md.

Rinehart’s 17-year-old son, Timothy, was at the wheel when their car struck and killed Flannery. Timothy, who was 16 at the time, did not have a driver’s license. He was convicted earlier this month of reckless driving and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Prosecutors said Timothy Rinehart swerved onto the wrong side of the road at least four times before he struck Flannery on her bicycle.

Prosecutors had contended Ronald Rinehart had been drinking, and though he was not driving, was responsible because his son did not have a driver’s license or permit. The jury convicted him on misdemeanor charges of contributing to rendering a child in need of assistance and several traffic violations.

Flannery, a mother of five, held nine world masters triathlon titles and six U.S. triathlon championships.

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