Man Convicted Of Involuntary Manslaughter In 2017 Death Of Burke County Firefighter

BURKE COUNTY, NC — A Morganton man accused of hitting and killing a Burke County firefighter in October of 2017 was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday.

Randall Stewart, 59, pleaded guilty in the vehicular death of 40-year-old Jason Hensley. He was sentenced to 28 to 43 months in prison, which officials say was the maximum possible term for the offense based on Stewart’s prior record level.

On October 9, 2017, Hensley and another firefighter were cleaning storm debris on the side of U.S. Highway 70 in Drexel when the incident occurred. Stewart reportedly failed to yield to the scene and struck Hensley and the fire department’s brush truck. Hensley died as a result of his injuries.

Investigators say Hensley was wearing all required reflective gear and all emergency vehicles on scene were operating emergency lights at the time of the accident.

Hensley had only been with the department for eight months, officials say, when he died.