Heatley indicted in Snyder's death

Updated: July 19, 2004, 4:03 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley was indicted Friday on vehicular homicide and five other charges in the 2003 wreck that claimed the life of a teammate.

Police estimated that Heatley was driving his black Ferrari convertible between 60 and 90 mph on a curved road in a residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence on Sept. 29, 2003.

Dan Snyder, 25, died after several days in a coma, and Heatley broke his jaw and tore two ligaments in his knee. The Canadian citizen returned to play with the team in January.

"All of us have driven too fast at one time or another, but this case involves extreme speed," county prosecutor Paul Howard said Friday in announcing the indictment.

Heatley's attorney, Ed Garland, said the case does not justify a homicide charge.

"We don't want any sentence that would put him in jail, destroy his career, or have him deported from the United States," he said.

Garland said the defense wants a chance to determine if the car Heatley drove had any mechanical defects.

Heatley, the MVP of the 2003 NHL All-Star game, was in Canada on Friday preparing for the upcoming season, the team said. He was not immediately available for comment.

Authorities said Heatley had consumed some alcohol but was not intoxicated at the time of the wreck.

The Snyder family released a statement through the Thrashers saying they continue to support Heatley.

"Our feelings have never changed and we continue to support Dany and the entire Heatley family," the statement read.

Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said he expects Heatley to join the team in training camp in September.

"Throughout the process, we felt that, and continue to feel that, the end result will show that this was truly an accident, and Dany will be ready to play," Waddell said.

There is no mandatory prison sentence for the crimes, giving the judge considerable discretion, Howard said. A probation sentence is one option, he added.

Howard said he would not seek to have Heatley taken into custody before a trial.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press