Delaware News

Man convicted of homicide while driving a vehicle

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A graphic of the accident by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Courtesy picture

Man convicted of homicide while driving a vehicle

WILMINGTON — A Blanchester man has been sentenced to prison for his role in a fatal car crash.

On Monday, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John “Tim” Rudduck sentenced Thomas Watkins to no less than six years and no more than nine years in prison. Watkins, 53, of Blanchester, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide in October.

The charge stems from an accident in July which resulted in the death of 19-year-old Douglas Ross III, also of Blanchester.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol accident report, Watkins was driving a 2001 Dodge Durango northeast on Shawnee Trace Road in Blanchester/Marion Township with Ross in the passenger seat. Watkins swerved to the left, hit a ditch and rolled over into a soybean field.

Ross was ejected from the vehicle and he was transported to UC Cincinnati Medical Center via CareFlight. Ross died of his injuries three days later.

The report describes Watkins as having “glassy bloodshot eyes and seemed to be weathered” and “Watkins had a rigid body posture and was very restless”.

Watkins admitted to using methamphetamine earlier in the day, according to the report. He first said someone else was driving, but later said he was the operator.

Court documents indicate that Watkins was driving the vehicle illegally while under suspension.

“It’s not an uncommon thing for (Watkins),” the court documents say. “(Watkins) has incurred several such convictions for driving without a valid license. His irresponsible conduct on this occasion resulted in the tragic death of a young man of nineteen.

Watkins was also sentenced to a lifetime suspension from driving a vehicle.

Man convicted of homicide while driving a vehicle

A graphic of the accident by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Man convicted of homicide while driving a vehicle

Watkins

July accident resulted in the death of a Blanchester teenager

Contact John Hamilton at 937-382-2574



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