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Ohio Jury: Vehicular Homicide Verdict in Car Accident Case

A Licking County courtroom in Newark was the venue in which a final outcome was reached last Friday in the legal resolution of a tragic car accident that occurred slightly more than three years ago near the city of Pataskala.

Shortly after midnight on June 15, 2008, an 18-year-old woman was driving back to Newark from Columbus, along with three passengers. Their vehicle was struck by a 41-year-old man, a resident of Westerville, who ultimately became the defendant in the Licking County Common Pleas Court case just resolved.

The defendant suffered only minor injuries in the accident. Sadly, the driver of the struck vehicle died in the collision, along with two of her passengers. Another passenger was seriously injured.

A urine test administered to the male driver by the State Highway Patrol following the accident indicated he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16. The legal threshold for a presumption of drunk driving in Ohio is 0.11 for a urine test.

The defendant stated during his trial that he believed he had consumed about five beers before driving that evening. He was allegedly traveling at about 65 miles per hour when the accident occurred, in an area where the speed limit is 55 mph.

The jury convicted the defendant of three felony counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and a single count of aggravated vehicular assault. He was also charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

A sentencing date was not immediately announced. The man could receive a potential prison sentence of up to 29 years.

Related Resource: Columbus Dispatch, “SUV driver convicted in three deaths ” July 16, 2011