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Man jailed for alcohol-related wreck that killed minister on motorcycle

Wire • Mar 19, 2013 at 9:07 PM

A Fairfield County judge sentenced a driver today to 360 days in jail, and suspended all but 30 days of it, for causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist in Violet Township.

Common Pleas Court Judge Chris A. Martin sentenced Timothy A. Vedrinski, 46, of Canal Winchester, as part of a plea agreement.

Vedrinski had pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide and falsification, and the judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail for each of the first-degree misdemeanors, to be served consecutively.

Under the deal, a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, also a first-degree misdemeanor, was dismissed.

A grand jury did not issue a felony indictment last year, instead indicting Vedrinski on misdemeanor charges, county Prosecutor Gregg Marx said.

Vedrinski was responsible for causing a crash that killed Thomas G. Bender, 53, of Pickerington. Bender died at Grant Medical Center after the crash on Oct. 5, 2011.

Vedrinski was driving a Jeep Liberty west on Wright Road at 9 p.m. when he turned left onto School House Road and into the path of Bender who was driving his Honda VTX 1300 motorcycle east on Wright Road. Bender was thrown from the motorcycle.

An ordained minister, Bender was riding his motorcycle home after preaching that night at World Harvest Church, his brother, Tim Bender, said.

Tim Bender was not happy with the plea agreement and sentence. “Justice was not done,” he said.

Marx and defense lawyer Andrew Stevenson would not say what led to the falsification offense.

Vedrinski will serve a net jail sentence of 20 days. Martin credited him with seven days already served and a three-day driving intervention class he was ordered to take. He also was sentenced to five years on probation after jail and a five-year suspension of his driver’s license. He also was ordered to pay a $750 fine plus court costs and to remain sober.

Bender’s widow, Barbara, cried as she related her sorrow in the courtroom. “I cannot describe the immense pain I feel each waking moment ... I have lost the love of my life.”

Vedrinski apologized to her and the other family members and church congregants who filled the courtroom. “I am so deeply sorry for your loss ... and hope someday you can find forgiveness in your heart,” he said.


By Mary Beth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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