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Published: Thursday, 3/1/2007

Man pleads in crash that led to '05 death

BOWLING GREEN - A Graytown man pleaded no contest yesterday to negligent assault stemming from a 2001 traffic crash that hurt a Pemberville, Ohio, woman and ultimately led to her death.

Jason Grotz, 48, was charged with negligent vehicular homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor, stemming from the death of Elizabeth Hetrick, but he agreed to plead to negligent assault, a third-degree misdemeanor.

Mr. Grotz was westbound on Sugar Ridge Road, just north of Pemberville, on Nov. 27, 2001 when he failed to stop at a stop sign at Pemberville Road and collided with Ms. Hetrick's northbound sport utility vehicle. Ms. Hetrick, 33, was hurt seriously in the crash and died in the St. Francis Health Care Centre, Green Springs, Ohio, on Oct. 1, 2005.

Bowling Green Municipal Court Judge Mark Reddin sentenced Mr. Grotz to a suspended six-month jail term and ordered him to pay a $250 fine and court costs. He also placed Mr. Grotz on probation for two years.

His attorney, Sarah Nation, said Mr. Grotz also would plead to a stop sign violation, although that has not yet been filed. She called the crash an unfortunate accident.

"My client feels really bad that this was an accident where someone passed away," she said. "He understands losing a family member because his wife passed away this past year and he has a young child."

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