Lehigh Valley

Fate of John Heaney III in hands of jury

Jury deliberating in Heaney trial

EASTON, Pa. - Was alcohol or a medical condition the cause of a July 2011 fatal accident?

It's the question a Northampton County jury has to answer. 

It's the case against John Heaney III, a retired New Jersey Cop, who hit several motorcycle riders on Route 512 in Bangor, killing two men.

The case against the former cop accuses him of driving drunk and killing two motorcycle riders and injuring four others.  It wrapped up Monday after a week of testimony.

The jury deliberated long into the night Monday, until approximately 10 p.m.  They'll be back Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. to continue deliberations.

The defense says Heaney suffered a severe hypoglycemia attack that incapacitated him, causing his truck to drift into oncoming traffic.

Bikers Keith Michaelson, 52, and Michael Zodoyko, 47, were killed.  Four others were severely injured.

Heaney's defense team called it a tragic accident.

The prosecution argued it was gross negligence and that Heaney was driving drunk and knew the risks of his medical history before getting behind the wheel.

It was the July 4th weekend when the 6-foot-2-inch tall, 300-pound Heaney went out fishing and then grabbed a bite to eat and a beer before getting behind the wheel and crashing into the biking crew.

Defense lawyers argue he wasn't drunk and the heat helped to spike his blood sugar, causing the hypoglycemic attack.

However, the prosecution says due to Heaney's gastric bypass surgery, alcohol affected him faster.  They argued Heaney's early wake up call that day, the medication he was on, the heat, his alcohol consumption and medical history were enough to keep a man who had himself preformed hundreds of DUI tests as a cop off the road.

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