WILMINGTON — After more than a year of hearings, a woman was sentenced to 10 days of jail and five years of probation for reckless driving that left a Blanchester woman dead in November 2014.
Michelle Julien, 55, of Pleasant Plain, traveled left of center in her van, which struck a car carrying three people.
One of those passengers, 80-year-old Margie Richie, of Blanchester, was fatally injured.
A sentencing order said Julien had a history of medical issues, “including mental health problems that appear to have directly contributed to the commission of this crime.”
Julien also self-medicated in the past with marijuana, according to the sentencing order. Though she tested positive after the crash for marijuana and amphetamine use, Julien “claims the use of marihuana was not contemporaneous with the date of the traffic crash,” according to the order.
In March, Julien pled guilty to reckless homicide, the third-degree felony for which she was sentenced.
As part of the plea agreement, charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and a traffic violation were dismissed. Prosecutors also made no sentencing recommendation.
“While it is true imposing a prison term under these circumstances would fulfill the ‘punishment’ purpose of felony sentencing, the Court believes other factors militate against prison,” read a sentencing order signed by Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck. “While the Court understands the position of the family members of the deceased as set forth in their victim impact statement and letters, punishment can be meted out locally without burdening the prison system by commitment of an otherwise non-violent offender, especially when the state of Ohio is not seeking prison at this time.”
In addition to reporting to jail in November for 10 days, Rudduck ordered Julien to complete five years of probation, suspended her operator’s license for five years, forbid her from contacting Richie’s family and ordered her to pay $10,700 of restitution to Richie’s estate.
Violation of the sanctions could result in a 36 month prison term. Also ordered was a suspended, six month jail term.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.