Hamilton woman wants bond reduced while awaiting grand jury consideration in fatal pedestrian crash

·3 min read

Jul. 30鈥擜n attorney for a woman who allegedly hit and killed a boy in Hamilton's Lindenwald neighborhood in May has again requested a bond modification while the case awaits grand jury consideration.

Nolen Scott Jones, 6, of Hamilton, died of head injuries sustained when he was struck by a car while crossing Pleasant Avenue about 6:45 p.m. May 11. His 11-year-old brother, Logan Watson, was also injured.

The alleged driver of the car, Elizabeth Ann Marie Mehl, 30, of Corwin Avenue in Hamilton, was originally charged with OVI and child endangering, both misdemeanors, and felony drug abuse. There were two children, ages 10 and 3, in the car at the time of the crash, according to the Hamilton police.

At the request of the Butler County Prosecutor's Office, the misdemeanor charges against Mehl were dismissed in Hamilton Municipal Court to avoid possible double jeopardy issues because the continuing crash investigation could result in more serious charges at the common pleas court level.

Mehl, who is free on $75,000 bond, was in municipal court in May for a preliminary hearing, where Judge Dan Gattermeyer found sufficient evidence to bind the drug abuse charge over to a grand jury. Her case is still awaiting presentation to a grand jury.

Attorney Jonathan Fox has twice requested Mehl be removed from GPS monitor and house arrest saying there is a costly fee for the monitor and she has three children and a job.

"The OVI charge has been dismissed. There is no indication of alcohol involvement and Ms. Mehl voluntarily provided a urine sample that has been sent to a laboratory for analysis," Fox said in the motion. "Counsel has been advised that the state has received the lab results. The State of Ohio has obtained a continuance of the grand jury in that matter and has until Sept. 14, 2021 to present the case to grand jury."

According to Fox, Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Dan Phillips said he would not take a position regarding bond modification.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the Mehl case is expected to be presented to a grand jury next month and was continued to the next session of the grand jury "based upon the necessity for further investigation."

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster denied the bond modification the first time in May and again on July 22.

Last month a grand jury declined to indict a second woman charged in connection to the fatal crash.

Hortencia Garcia, 26, of Cincinnati was charged with tampering with evidence, a felony, for allegedly retrieving cash from a car after the crash and hiding it in her bra. She stopped because she knew the driver.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Garcia should never have been charged.

Gmoser said the facts in the Garcia case did not support the charge because she had permission to retrieve items from the car.

"There was a failure of communication between the investigating officers on the case resulting in somebody being charged that should not have been," Gmoser said.

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