XENIA — A Greene County jury found a Xenia woman guilty Jan. 31 in the 2016 OVI-related crash that killed a Bowersville man.
After fewer than three hours of deliberation, Kathy Smith, 65, received five guilty verdicts: two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, second- and third-degree felonies; two counts of aggravated vehicular assault, third- and fourth-degree felonies; and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a first-degree misdemeanor.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Cheri Stout, Smith is facing mandatory imprisonment: two to eight years for the first count of aggravated vehicular homicide and one to five years for the first count of aggravated vehicular assault. Those counts also require license suspension, three years to life. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The family of Raymond Deyo, 68, who died as a result of the two-vehicle Aug. 27, 2016 crash on Hussey Road in Caesar Creek Township, said justice has been served.
“We got what we’ve been waitin’ for for two-and-a-half years,” Linda Deyo, the widow of Raymond Deyo, said. “It’s been a long haul. It’s a journey I wouldn’t put on anybody. It’s not been an easy road for my family.”
In a crowded courtroom, members of the Deyo family waited for the verdicts. Some wore green “Justice for Ray Deyo” shirts. Others held hands. They had been there for every minute of the four-day trial.
As the verdicts were read, they embraced each other, put their heads in their hands, and cried.
“I’m glad we were able to do this for Ray and the family,” Assistant Prosecutor David Morrison said outside the courtroom. “To finally be able to bring it to a conclusion and get the result we were able to get — it just feels awesome.”
Added Stout, “We are very pleased and grateful for the time and thought the jury put into this verdict. We are very grateful for the relief and the ability for the family to have some kind of closure regarding this … There are no words for what this does for the family.”
Earlier in the day, attorneys presented their closing arguments to the jury.
“So she’s going probably closer to 77 mph, into bad weather, with unsafe tire tread, on an inherently dangerous road, and then she admitted, at the time, that she’d had some wine. You put all these things together, ladies and gentlemen, that is reckless conduct,” Morrison said. “She was driving drunk and because she was drunk, she went left of center, and she killed Ray. She killed him.”
Defense Attorney Peter Certo told the jury the accident was not the result of recklessness.
“Did Kathy cross center and hit the Deyos’ vehicle? Yes. Did Mr. Deyo perish and Linda Deyo get serious physical injuries? Yes,” he said. “The only question is — was she impaired by the alcohol? Was she reckless? Or was it due to a minor traffic violation?”
Certo called Smith’s test result of .343 Blood Alcohol Concentration “clearly a false positive” and repeated a doctor’s previous testimony: “Impossible. Impossible.”
“There is no evidence of recklessness,” Certo said. “There is no evidence that she was weaving in and out of traffic, swerving off the road, taking turns at a high speed, no evidence of ice, snow, anything. So, potentially she’s exceeded the speed limit, if the calculation based on a guess is correct.”
In the last few minutes with the jury, Stout put a slide on the overhead with two words: Yes, wine.
“You’ve heard a lot over the past few days but really, that — ” she said, pointing to the words, “that is what this case all boils down to.”
“That, which came out of the defendant’s mouth that day, was the reason,” she said, switching the slide to a photo of a totaled Toyota Tundra, “that we have that.”
Now that the case has come to a close, there’s one way Linda Deyo wants her husband to be remembered.
“He was a good man,” she said. “He was a good father. He was a good husband. He was a good provider. He was a Vietnam veteran, helped anybody. In fact, after the crash he told them to check on me and the people in the other car, and then he was gone. So, he was a good-hearted man.”