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Published: Saturday, 4/20/2013

Trucker gets jail time for road worker’s death

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FREMONT — Wearing a lime-green safety vest over her clothing, a Perrysburg woman on Friday implored Sandusky County Common Pleas Judge John Dewey to send to jail the truck driver who struck and killed her husband while he worked on the Ohio Turnpike.

Amy Fletcher made her comments just before Judge Dewey sentenced Edward Mills, 54, of Doylestown, Ohio, to 60 days in the Sandusky County jail, suspended his commercial driver’s license for five years, imposed a $1,000 fine, placed him on community control for five years, and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

Mr. Mills pleaded guilty in February to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of vehicular homicide for the Jan. 24, 2012, crash that killed Forest “John” Fletcher, 53, and seriously injured two of his co-workers, James Roudebush, 55, of Millbury and Anthony J. Stout, 24, of Clyde, Ohio.

“Whether Mr. Mills was fatigued, distracted, or too ill to drive safely, he made several very bad choices in the time leading up to the point where he killed John, and he needs to suffer at least some of the consequences of those choices by spending some time in jail,” Mrs. Fletcher said.

While speaking emotionally about her husband — and the vital role he played in their household and with their three young children — Mrs. Fletcher also highlighted what she called “incredible” statistics about fatal and injury crashes in highway work zones.

“I wear this safety vest sadly, but in the hopes that no other family has to go through what we are,” she said.

Kathleen Weiss, general counsel for the Ohio Turnpike Commission, told the court the turnpike lost three employees that day, two of whom — Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Roudebush — each had more than 25 years experience. She said neither Mr. Roudebush nor Mr. Stout has been able to return to work because of their injuries.

“This dealt a huge blow to the morale of all turnpike employees,” she said.

Mr. Mills apologized for the crash, which he said he didn’t remember. He said that to this day he doesn’t know what happened or why.

“Please forgive me,” he said.

In passing sentence, Judge Dewey noted that Mr. Mills had been a truck driver for more than 35 years, had a good driving record, and had not been involved in any previous crashes. Investigators found no aggravating circumstances in the case, leading to the indictment and plea agreement on the misdemeanor charge.



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