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Published: Friday, 12/5/2008

Driver denies guilt in crash that killed 2 in South Toledo

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Theresa Holman, in a wheelchair, is arraigned on two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. Theresa Holman, in a wheelchair, is arraigned on two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter.
JETTA FRASER / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Sitting in a wheelchair, her arm in a sling and her leg in a brace, a South Toledo woman accused of causing a chain-reaction crash in October on the Anthony Wayne Trail that killed two boys on their way to school pleaded not guilty yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court.

Theresa Holman, 56, of 5767 Cresthaven Lane was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, both second-degree misdemeanors.

Authorities said Ms. Holman was inbound on the Trail, just north of the Toledo Zoo, about 8:30 a.m. Oct. 20 when she lost control of her vehicle, crossed the median, and entered outbound lanes of traffic.

Zyeri White, 5, and his uncle, Devine Chatman, 11, who were both students at Harvard Elementary School in South Toledo, were killed in the crash that involved six vehicles.

Eric White, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of his son, Zyeri, attended the arraignment with Devine's mother and two other women.

They left the courtroom upset after Ms. Holman entered not-guilty pleas and declined comment after the hearing.

Jerry Phillips, Ms. Holman's attorney, said in addition to Ms. Holman's physical injuries, she is suffering emotionally as a result of being involved in an accident that resulted in two deaths.

"It's a horrible, horrible thing, and it's something that she lives with on a daily basis," Mr. Phillips said.

He added that not-guilty pleas were entered because he has not received the crash report, crash reconstruction information, or witness statements, which he requested in a motion for discovery. The pleas could be changed once he receives the information, he said.

According to the Toledo police accident report, Ms. Holman was inbound on the Trail when she tried to change lanes. She was beginning to merge into the center lane and another car was trying to switch lanes.

In swerving to avoid hitting that car, Ms. Holman overcorrected, lost control, and went across the median into the outbound lanes, police said.

Ms. Holman's car struck Quavonne Porter's vehicle - carrying her son, Zyeri; daughter, Quaja Butler, 6, and brother, Devine - sending it airborne onto the hood of a pickup truck driven by Clyde Cole, 53, which then struck another car, forcing that car into a utility pole.

The Porter vehicle bounced off the truck and landed on its roof.

A fifth vehicle struck Ms. Holman's car and went off the west side of the road. Another vehicle trying to avoid the crash also drove off the west side of the road, police said.

Ms. Porter, 25, spent several weeks recovering in Toledo Hospital and since has been moved to a nursing home in Oregon, Mr. White said.

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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