WILMINGTON — A local man charged in a fatal accident had his driver’s license taken away for life in a plea deal.

On Friday, Thomas Watkins pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide in Clinton County Common Pleas Court.

A stipulation in this plea deal is that Watkins will have a lifetime suspension from driving. The plea also dismisses charges of driving under suspension, an O.V.I. charge, and a second aggravated vehicle homicide offense.

Watkins, 52, of Blanchester, was arraigned in February on the charges stemming from a crash in July that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Douglas Ross III, also of Blanchester.

According to the accident report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Watkins was driving northeast on Shawnee Trace Road in Blanchester/Marion Township with Ross in the passenger seat. Watkins drove off the roadway to the left, struck a ditch, and overturned into a soybean field.

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

The report describes Watkins as having “glassy bloodshot eyes and appeared to be impaired” and “Watkins had a rigid body posture and was very fidgety.”

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

Watkins’ official sentencing is scheduled for November 28. He is currently incarcerated in the Clinton County Jail.


By John Hamilton

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Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574