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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2005

Driver in fatality pleads not guilty

A woman who says she was distracted by her ringing cell phone when she struck and killed a 5-year-old boy after he stepped off a school bus in Oregon was arraigned yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on a felony charge of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Angelique M. Dipman pleaded not guilty before Judge Jack Zouhary. Ms. Dipman, 27, of Clay Township in Ottawa County, remained silent during her arraignment. Her attorney, Joseph Westmeyer, Jr., entered the plea on her behalf.

Dameatrius McCreary stepped off the bus March 24 and was crossing Starr Avenue to get home from school when he was hit by Ms. Dipman's westbound car. Dameatrius, a kindergartner at Coy Elementary, was pronounced dead at Toledo Hospital. Ms. Dipman told police she was distracted by her ringing cell phone when the accident occurred, and she saw the bus but not its flashing red lights.

Judge Zouhary scheduled a pretrial hearing for May 23 and continued Ms. Dipman's recognizance bond.

Dameatrius' mother, Sandra TenEyck, arrived late for the arraignment and was not in the courtroom when Ms. Dipman entered the plea. Ms. TenEyck's aunt, Patricia Dominguez, told reporters outside the courtroom a law should be enacted to ban motorists from using cell phones while driving.

"Turn off the cell phones. Please don't drive and turn on the phones, even if it's only a second," Ms. Dominguez said.

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