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Published: Thursday, 5/17/2007

Athlete admits his role in Richfield Township fatal crash

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Michael Callan Michael Callan
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Handshakes and a hug between families followed a hearing yesterday for a co-captain of the St. John's Jesuit High School state championship hockey team who admitted his role in the death of a Sylvania tax office employee in a traffic accident in March.

The mother of Michael Callan, 18, shook hands with relatives of Juanita Adams after the teenager's arraignment in Lucas County Juvenile Court, where he entered an admission to delinquency in connection with aggravated vehicular homicide.

"So sorry," was heard between the families. Mr. Callan's mother, Jody Turin, hugged one of Mrs. Adams' in-laws.

The Sylvania teen was charged after a two-car accident March 13 at State Rt. 295 and Sylvania Avenue in Richfield Township in which the 55-year-old Swanton woman was killed.

Mrs. Adams' car was southbound on Route 295 when it was struck by a car driven by Mr. Callan, who was westbound on Sylvania. There was a stop sign on Sylvania, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Mr. Callan and his passenger, Finnish exchange student Markus Mitronen, then 17, were treated at area hospitals.

Mr. Callan stood before Visiting Judge Richard Knepper and said he was driving over 75 mph, passed two vehicles, and didn't see the stop sign. He said he entered the intersection and collided with Mrs. Adams. "She is now, very unfortunately, deceased," Mr. Callan said.

His father, Dennis Callan, and his mother sat behind him in court. Ms. Turin wiped away tears as did at least one of three members of Mrs. Adams' family. After the arraignment, a member of her family said they were not commenting.

"The tragedy of the event is obvious, and Michael chose to accept responsibility for his actions immediately upon arraignment," said Jon Richardson, the teenager's attorney.

Mr. Richardson said he was glad to see the families were "able to express sympathy and goodwill to each other."

Lori Olender, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor, said she hoped their meeting after the arraignment "helps the family of the victim."

Ms. Olender said both sides knew Mr. Callan was going to make an admission yesterday. She said prosecutors did not seek to have him certified to stand trial as an adult because "it would not be ethical for the prosecutor's office to push something we don't have a basis to do."

Attorneys for both sides said Mr. Callan was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. Ms. Olender said he has no record and said the act was reckless.

"The whole thing is tragic," she said. "The kid did not intend to do this, but he will live with this the rest of his life."

The case was referred to probation for social history and was continued until mid June for disposition or sentencing.

Mr. Callan could receive probation or be committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Ms. Olender said.

Contact Christina Hall at:

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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