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Motion to suppress pending in manslaughter case

| December 10, 2020 1:00 AM


Hagadone News Network

SPIRIT LAKE — Counsel for a Coeur d'Alene man accused of accidentally killing a passenger during a rollover crash in 2017 is moving to suppress evidence in the case.

A hearing on the motion in Jose Franco Sosa Jr.'s case is set for Dec. 21 in 1st District Court, records show. Public Defender Luke Hagelberg does not specify in court documents what evidence or statements which the defense seeks to keep from jurors when they take up the case in February 2021.

Sosa, 59, is accused of accidentally killing a Rathdrum juvenile, Joseph T. Neumann, in the May 15, 2017, crash on Spirit Lake Cutoff Road near Peregrine Road. Idaho State Police said Sosa was northbound in a Subaru Legacy when he drove off the west shoulder, struck a series of mailboxes and overturned.

Neumann, whose age is redacted in court documents, was ejected from the vehicle during the rollover crash, an ISP affidavit said. A second juvenile was a passenger in the vehicle was also injured in the crash, state police said.

A forensic pathologist said Neumann's death was caused by blunt head injuries. A lacerated spleen also contributed to his death, according to court documents. Neumann was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to a state police investigation.

The investigation further revealed that Sosa had amphetamine and the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana in his system at the time of the crash. A criminal complaint alleges Sosa was under the influence of drugs and was driving in a manner which was grossly negligent and likely to endanger persons or property.

Sosa is currently serving a five- to 10-year prison term in a felony driving under the influence case in Kootenai County dating back to 2010. He is also serving concurrent sentences for a 2015 felony eluding charge and a 2016 felony drug possession charge, according to Idaho's iCourt database. He becomes eligible for parole in 2021.

Sosa is being held at the Idaho State Correctional Center near Boise, according to the Idaho Department of Correction.

The state police investigation alleges Sosa was driving at least 57 mph in a 45 mph zone when he lost control of his vehicle and went off the shoulder, court documents indicate.

There is no record of Sosa giving a statement to Idaho State Police in publicly available court docuements.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached at or followed on Twitter @KeithDailyBee