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Toledoan pleads guilty to leaving fatal crash

Gulch says he didn’t see woman

A Toledo man who drove off after striking and killing a pedestrian on North Detroit Avenue pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of failure to stop after an accident.

Derrick Gulch, 25, of 4234 Asbury Drive faces up to three years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 7 by Judge Myron Duhart in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Gulch was southbound on Detroit on Feb. 21 when the pickup truck he was driving struck Theressea James, 26, of Toledo, who was walking on Detroit near Willamont Road. Ms. James died at the scene.

Jennifer Liptack-Wilson, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said investigators could not prove Gulch caused the accident because Ms. James was in the roadway when she was struck. It was dark and raining at the time, and Gulch maintained that he did not see the pedestrian but believed he may have struck a construction barrel, she said.

In entering the guilty plea, Gulch’s attorney, Jerome Phillips, asked him a series of questions about the incident. Gulch responded that he was driving that night and that he did not stop or call police after he struck an object that turned out to be Ms. James.

Ms. Liptack-Wilson said another motorist contacted police the next day after learning about the hit-skip accident on the news.

She had taken down Gulch’s license plate and vehicle description after noticing him driving erratically and seeing a woman in the roadway.

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