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Judge chides woman before sentencing her in bicyclist's death

TNS Regional News • May 30, 2014 at 7:07 PM

A 20-year-old University District woman who showed up late this morning for her vehicular-manslaughter sentencing narrowly avoided more time in prison, a Franklin County Common Pleas judge said.

Judge Mark A. Serrott said he was tempted to add more time to the four-year, nine-month sentence for Jasmine J. Herring, of Clinton Street, saying her tardiness was the latest in a string of issues that suggested she had a bad attitude and wasn’t remorseful for causing the death of a bicyclist in Columbus last summer.

In April, Herring admitted that she had used drugs before coming to court to plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with evidence in the July 3 death of 21-year-old Elijah Smith.

Smith, 21, of E. 11th Avenue, was riding his bicycle home from his job at a manufacturing plant about 4 a.m. when he was struck near Woodland and Woodward avenues on the North Side.

Police said Herring was driving a Volkswagen Passat when the car struck Smith from behind. She then drove away.

Smith landed in the middle of the intersection and was found a short time later by a passerby who called 911.

In a tearful statement, Herring said she thinks of Smith every day and dreams of him constantly. She said she was late this morning because she couldn’t find a ride to court. A drug test came up negative.

Pressed by Serrott, Herring said she hadn’t been drinking before the fatal collision but had been smoking marijuana.

Smith’s death prompted a legal dispute when Lifeline of Ohio went to court to obtain permission to harvest his organs after his family objected. Smith had said he wanted to be an organ and tissue donor when he applied for his driver’s license.

A judge eventually ruled that, under the law, his decision could not be reversed by family members.


By Theodore Decker - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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