A Coshocton man was sentenced today to 17 months in prison after driving his SUV into a parked car in Roscoe Village and killing a Columbus woman.
Mary Baldwin, 68, was getting into the passenger side of a Toyota Prius, parked at the bottom of Hill Street, when a Ford Explorer, driven by Charles A. Miller, 29, crashed into the driver’s side of Baldwin’s car, knocking her backward across a sidewalk and into an iron gate.
Coshocton County deputies estimated that Miller’s SUV was traveling faster than 60 mph downhill after his brakes failed on Sept. 17.
A felony charge of vehicular homicide was dropped in exchange for Miller’s guilty plea in March to counts of vehicular manslaughter, a first-degree misdemeanor, driving while under suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor, as well as speeding and failure to control.
Miller didn’t have a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash. That violated his probation from a prior felony domestic violence charge and added to his sentence.
In a tearful apology, Miller said his wife had just returned to work that day following a maternity leave and Miller couldn’t find a ride to take his 1-month-old daughter, who was in vehicle but uninjured at the time of the crash, to the babysitter before he went to work.
Coshocton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Batchelor was unmoved. “You have a history of not following the law, whether it’s speed or under-age consumption of alcohol or domestic violence,” Batchelor told Miller. “You have simply written your own code and done what you wanted when you wanted. The result, Mr. Miller, has been tragic — a word that does not sufficiently describe the suffering that has occurred as a result of your actions.”
Also in the courtroom was widower George Baldwin, 72, who was sitting in the driver’s side of the Toyota Prius when it was struck by Miller at the popular tourist spot that recreates 19th century life along the Ohio & Erie Canal. Baldwin suffered 13 broken ribs and a broken scapula and clavicle.
“Physically, I’m fairly well-healed,” he said afterward. “Emotionally, it’s another story. I wonder if you ever recover.”
By Eric Lyttle - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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