Toledoan found guilty in fatal traffic crash

Motorist struck, killed woman walking to casino 2012


A motorist who struck and killed a Painesville, Ohio woman last year as she was walking to the Hollywood Casino was convicted today on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Michael Yates, 42, of 1128 Ironwood Ave., also was found guilty of vehicular assault for striking and injuring Chelsea Skoch, 24, of Madison, Ohio, who was walking with Stefanie Arnold, 27, when Mrs. Arnold was killed.

In a bench trial last week, Lucas County Common Pleas Court Myron Duhart heard two days of testimony in the case before deliberating. He announced his verdict at 1 p.m. today. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Yates was eastbound on Miami Street about 8:20 p.m. July 21, 2012, when he drove over the curb, down a sidewalk, and struck a fire hydrant before hitting the two women.

While prosecutors argued that Yates was reckless, impaired, and driving with a suspended operator’s license, defense attorney Jon Richardson maintained during the trial that Yates had therapeutic levels of the painkiller oxycodone and the muscle relaxant Flexeril in his system, both of which were prescribed to him for back pain from a prior auto accident.

Mr. Richardson argued that Yates could not have known the medication would make him drowsy because he had been taking it for several weeks with no ill effects.