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Published: Friday, 2/29/2008

Driver freed from prison, faces retrial in fatal crash

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

After spending nearly two years in prison, Lance Kincaid was released yesterday.

Sentenced May 10, 2006, to five years in prison for causing the traffic death of an 81-year-old woman, Kincaid's conviction was overturned last month by Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals. Yesterday, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda ordered that Kincaid be put on electronic monitoring.

"You have to take into consideration that his conviction was overturned," defense attorney Jeff Simpson said after the hearing. "He gets to return to his life before he was convicted."

But he still faces charges.

Kincaid, 44, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault for allegedly causing a Feb. 15, 2005, crash that killed Gertrude Koepke and severely injured one of her passengers.

Judge Zmuda set a March 10 pretrial hearing in the case.

The case was returned to Common Pleas Court after the appellate court released an opinion Feb. 1 that said Kincaid's blood-alcohol content percentage should have been suppressed during his court proceedings.

The ruling means if the case is to go to trial, it will be done without a jury knowing Kincaid's blood-alcohol content percentage and whether it was above Ohio's 0.08 percent legal limit for motorists.

Authorities said his blood-alcohol content was 0.136 percent at the time of the crash, nearly twice the legal limit.

The appellate court ruled that the prosecutor could not prove the blood had been handled properly before being tested, resulting in the overturning of the convictions.

Kincaid, found guilty in March, 2006, after pleading no contest, was convicted of causing the collision at State Rt. 2 and Coy Road in Oregon. Authorities said he failed to stop for a red light. Mrs. Koepke of Oregon was killed and two passengers were hurt, one seriously.

Yesterday, Kincaid told Judge Zmuda he'll return to work as a mechanic at a trucking company as he awaits his trial.



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