Driver acquitted in 2017 fatal crash

Cary Ashby • Apr 5, 2019 at 10:26 PM

Defendant Kyle D. Greenwald held his face in his hands before the jury verdict was announced Thursday night.

After nearly five hours of deliberation, a Huron County Common Pleas Court jury found the 23-year-old Wakeman man “not guilty” of two felonies and three misdemeanors. He was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one charge each of vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and operating a vehicle under the influence.

Greenwald’s charges were in connection with a Dec. 15, 2017 fatal crash. The victim was Norwalk resident Todathon E. Wagner, 69, of 2465 Ridge Road. The 1966 graduate of St. Paul High School served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and was an officer with the Norwalk Police Department until 1986.

“Yes, I think this was a totally just verdict, based on the evidence, on the law,” defense attorney Brent English said. “I think the whole case demonstrated that Kyle Greenwald did not do what he was alleged to have done and as a result, I think the jury got it right.”

The victim’s wife was unavailable for comment Thursday. There were four people in the courtroom with her and nearly a dozen people who supported the defendant. Several of Greenwald’s supporters cried after Judge Jim Conway announced the verdicts.

Just after 3 a.m. Dec. 15, 2017, Greenwald was driving a 2008 GMC 2500 pickup truck east on U.S. 20 near Wakeman Townline Road. He passed a disabled snowmobile in the westbound lane of U.S. 20 and then went left of center and collided head on with Wagner’s westbound vehicle, said troopers with the Norwalk post of the state Highway Patrol.

The westbound vehicle was a 2014 Volkswagen Passat.

“Alcohol is a suspected factor for Mr. Greenwald,” said Lt. Douglas Hamman, who was the Norwalk post commander at the time of the crash.

Troopers obtained a blood sample from Greenwald at Fisher-Titus Medical Center after the crash. According to a report by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, alcohol wasn’t detected in Wagner’s blood.

Greenwald, who declined to comment Thursday, didn’t testify. His attorney called three witnesses to the stand.

“We called an expert whose name is Robert Belloto. He gave compelling testimony about the lack of support for the state’s position with respect to certain technical issues involving back-extrapolation data to reach a blood-alcohol level at the time of the incident,” English said.

After two days of jury selection, there was seven days of testimony. Five troopers and several patrol lab officials testified for the state.

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Bambi Couch declined to be interviewed Thursday. 

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