Cedar Rapids man accused of vehicular homicide pleads not guilty

Blood helped determine who was driving the car

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A 28-year-old Cedar Rapids man accused of vehicular homicide in the death of an Alburnett woman in March pleaded not guilty Thursday in Linn County District Court.

Jermonda Pledge is charged with homicide by vehicle, and he filed a written not guilty plea Thursday. He is accused of unintentionally causing the death of 29-year-old Angela Kuehl on March 18, while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana as he lost control of a car near the intersection of County Home Road and C Avenue Extension, according to a criminal complaint. The car rolled over several times, ejecting Kuehl, who died from her injuries.

Pledge, who was out of the car when authorities arrived, denied driving the car, but he had injuries consistent with the accident, and the crime lab identified his blood in several locations on the driver's side of the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint. After an investigation lasting several months, a warrant was issued for Pledge's arrest and he was taken into custody Sept. 23, during a traffic stop in Cedar Rapids.

According to the complaint, Pledge admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the crash and a blood test confirmed marijuana in his system.

Pledge remains in the Linn County Jail under a $100,000 bond. If convicted, Pledge faces 25 years in prison. A trial date hasn't been set.

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