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Published: 3/26/2010

Inmate rejects deal in death of bicyclist

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Just a few months before he is to be released from prison, a Rossford man awaiting trial on related charges rejected a plea agreement yesterday that would have kept him behind bars for four more years.

David O'Neill, 65, is to go on trial April 19 in Wood County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated stemming from a Jan. 15, 2006, crash that killed a Perrysburg bicyclist and injured another.

O'Neill is serving four years in prison for failure to stop after an accident - a charge that arose from the same hit-and-run accident. His previous convictions on the other charges were overturned by the 6th District Court of Appeals, which ruled in 2008 that the results of O'Neill's blood-alcohol test should have been suppressed.

O'Neill's attorney, Jack Bradley, told the court yesterday that his client was not interested in the prosecutor's offer of four more years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea to the three charges.

O'Neill also did not want to plead no contest to the charges and take his chances on sentencing, which could amount to as much as 13 years, Mr. Bradley said.

"Both these offers were rejected, and David indicated to me he wanted to proceed to trial," Mr. Bradley said.

Judge Alan Mayberry ordered that his jury trial take place as scheduled next month.

Dr. Stephen Snedden, 47, was killed in the crash, which injured his friend and fellow cyclist, George Haig, who formerly lived in Perrysburg.

The two men and another friend were bicycling on State Rt. 65 just north of Five Point Road when they were struck by a passing vehicle that did not stop after the crash.

In July, 2006, Judge Mayberry sentenced O'Neill to 12 years in prison after he pleaded no contest to aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, failure to stop after an accident, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Judge Mayberry also suspended his driver's license for life and ordered him to pay restitution and spend every Jan. 15 in solitary confinemen, where he was to watch a videotape of the memorial service for Dr. Snedden, a pediatrician who specialized in critical care and pulmonology at Toledo Hospital.

O'Neill had been owner of the former General's Chop House restaurant in Waterville.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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