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Gordon man involved in accident charged with reckless driving

A Gordon man is facing felony charges for alleged reckless driving resulting in a 2016 crash that left a passenger with severe injuries.

Gage Michael Harwick, 23, faces felony charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and reckless driving causing great bodily harm in Douglas County Circuit Court. Harwick pleaded not guilty to the charges Feb. 2, and his next court appearance is set for April 6.

According to the criminal complaint:

Harwick was the driver of a truck that rolled and crashed on South Bass Lake Road. The accident was reported at 10:48 p.m. the night of Nov. 25, 2016.

One passenger was ejected and trapped underneath the vehicle. The passenger was diagnosed with vertebral fractures, a spinal cord contusion, a fractured femur and other significant injuries, including the loss of an ear.

Harwick told Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Howe that he came over a hill to find a deer in the road. He attempted to swerve around the deer and lost control of his vehicle. A blood sample from Harwick did not reveal the presence of alcohol or drugs.

In evaluating the crash scene, Sheriff's Sgt. Jake Engelman observed tire tracks that led him to believe the vehicle had been airborne, possibly more than once, as it was traveling on the road.

Engelman's analysis, based in part on data obtained from the airbag control module in the truck, indicated the vehicle was traveling about 108 mph just before the crash.

According to the airbag information provided, the vehicle was traveling at 108 mph 4.3 seconds before the crash.

Less than a mile from the crash site, Engelman noted, there is a 35 mph speed limit sign along the road. Three-tenths of a mile from the crash, there is a "Slow-Children at Play" sign as well as a pedestrian crossing sign.

If convicted, Harwick faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000 for the most serious charge, second-degree recklessly endangering safety.

A $5,000 signature bond was set for Harwick, and he was ordered not to operate a motor vehicle without a valid permit or license.