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Published: Thursday, 2/9/2006

Teen gets 60 days in jail for fatal traffic accident

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - A Perrysburg Township teen has been sentenced to 60 days in the Wood County jail and a two-year driver's license suspension for causing a fatal traffic crash last year.

Christopher L. Hoffer, 18, of 26228 Lime City Rd. was eastbound on State Rt. 795 Sept. 30 when he failed to stop for a red light at Glenwood Road and hit a northbound car driven by Tara R. Stamm, 25, of Archbold. She was pronounced dead at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

In December, Mr. Hoffer, who was 17 at the time of the crash, pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of delinquency in connection with vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, in Wood County Juvenile Court.

Juvenile Court Judge David Woessner said the maximum sentence Mr. Hoffer could have received was 90 days in jail. On Tuesday, the judge ordered him to serve 60 days in jail followed by 30 days of electronic monitoring.

Mr. Hoffer, a senior at Rossford High School, will be eligible for the jail's work release program so he can attend school while he's serving his sentence, Judge Woessner said.

He said the teen had no prior involvement with the court and was a good student. Alcohol or drugs were not a factor. Prosecutors said he was talking to two friends in his car and did not notice the stoplight was red.

Prompted by suggestions in letters written to the court by the victim's family and friends, Judge Woessner ordered Mr. Hoffer to write a research paper about intersection safety that deals specifically with distracted driving, caution lights, and rumble strips. The report is to be submitted to the court, which plans to turn it over to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

"I think they wanted him to do something that would make him think about - not just take his license away - but make him think about some things to make driving safer," the judge said.

He ordered Mr. Hoffer to continue to get counseling and, as a part of his counseling sessions, to read letters written by Ms. Stamm's family and view a DVD about her life put together by the family. Both her mother and fiance spoke in court before sentencing. Mr. Hoffer did not make a statement, on his attorney's advice.

In addition to the jail time and license suspension, Mr. Hoffer was ordered to pay the maximum fine of $250 plus court costs, and to perform 120 hours of community service. Judge Woessner said four hours are to be completed on the 30th of each month in observance of the Sept. 30 crash.

Contact Jennifer Feehan

at jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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