The driver of a sport utility vehicle charged with killing motorcyclist Charles S. Carpenter and critically injuring his passenger, Cathy L. Goodyear, 41, in a two-vehicle crash last summer pleaded guilty Monday in Logan County Common Pleas Court to two felonies.
Christian Fischer, 30, of East Liberty, pleaded guilty before Judge Mark S. O’Connor to aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, and aggravated vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony.
Defense asked that any ordered term of incarceration be served locally, rather than in the state prison system.
Mr. Fischer is legally eligible for community control.
As part of the plea agreement, Logan County Prosecutors have agreed not to recommend a particular sentence for the defendant. He faces up to four-and-half-years in prison, a $10,000 fine and a mandatory driver’s license suspension when he is sentenced May 19 following a presentence investigation.
The defendant crashed his SUV Aug. 11 head-on into a motorcycle, killing the the 39-year-old Galion man.
Ms. Goodyear, 41, also of Galion, sustained 11 broken ribs and a broken hip among numerous other injuries, prosecutors said.
Mr. Fischer had just exited U.S. Route 33 at U.S. Route 68, when he turned left to proceed southbound, and crossed the center line and struck the motorcyclist, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said.
According to his written statement to law enforcement following the crash, the defendant had dropped a cigarette and lighter and was reaching for them on the floor of his vehicle when he crossed into the northbound lanes and into the path of the motorcycle.
An indictment handed up by a Logan County Grand Jury had also included second- and third-degree felony charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and assault, along with a first-degree misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Those charges were the result of lab tests that showed the presence of marijuana in the defendant’s blood.
However, the charges were dropped after prosecutors learned the levels of THC-A in the defendant’s bloodstream proved only past exposure to marijuana and didn’t necessarily mean he was intoxicated at the time of the crash.