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South Side Police News & Notes

7/10/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

9th District Court of Appeals affirms conviction of Akron woman

DOWNTOWN AKRON — On June 30, the 9th District Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of Jessica Thomas, of South Akron, for aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Thomas’ trial took place before Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison McCarty.

According to McCarty, the decision was written by 9th District Court of Appeals Judge Donna Carr and concurred with by Judges Jennifer Hensal and Beth Whitmore.

Thomas, 27, appeared in front of McCarty July 3 for the execution of her sentence, as her appeal bond was revoked and she was taken into custody to serve three years, according to McCarty. Thomas was convicted after a jury trial in February 2013. The charges stemmed from a March 31, 2012, car accident on Massillon Road just north of Killian Road in Springfield that resulted in the death of Jeffrey Spencer, 26, Thomas’s fiancé. The couple had one son together.

In the accident, the couples’ car veered off Massillon Road and flipped onto its left side and crashed into a tree, according to McCarty. Thomas’ lower body was trapped between the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. Spencer’s body was partially ejected from the vehicle through the driver’s side window. He never recovered from his injuries and died April 4, 2012, according to McCarty.

Tests at the hospital showed Thomas’ blood alcohol content was above the legal limit to be driving, according to McCarty.

During the trial, Thomas presented expert testimony that she was not the driver of the vehicle. The Ohio State Highway Patrol, which investigated the accident, disagreed and claimed that Thomas, not Spencer, was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. She was convicted of the charges but appealed the decision and was granted bond pending the appeal, according to McCarty.

Thomas will serve her sentence at the Ohio State Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Ohio law mandates a prison sentence in aggravated vehicle homicide cases, and no early release can be considered, according to McCarty.


OVI Task Force nets two arrests

COVENTRY — The Summit County OVI Task Force conducted two sobriety checkpoints July 3, including one at South Main Street and Vaughan Road and one at South Arlington and East Warner roads.

Task Force officials reported the following results:

  • At the South Main Street site, 357 vehicles passed through and 10 were directed into the diversion area for further investigation, with no citations issued or arrests made.
  • At the South Arlington Road site, 111 vehicles passed through, with 14 directed into the diversion area for further investigation. Of those, two drivers were arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or dugs, with one driver striking another vehicle in the checkpoint zone and having a BAC of 0.185, and the other having a BAC of 0.153. Also, seven people were arrested for driving under suspension, and one person each was cited for failure to use safety restraints, operating a vehicle with a temporary permit only and failure to drive within marked lanes. Also, three vehicles were impounded.


Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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