Thompson sentenced to 4 years in prison in reckless homicide case


WILMINGTON — The woman who pleaded guilty in the Aug. 19, 2023 hit-and-run incident that killed 27-year-old Daniel Smith was sentenced this week to serve approximately four years in prison.

Taylor Thompson, 26, of Dayton, reached an agreement with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office which saw her plead guilty to reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, and failure to stop after an accident — all felonies of the third degree. Prosecutors requested a maximum prison sentence of eight-and-a-half years.

However, at Monday’s sentencing hearing in Clinton County Common Pleas Court, Judge John W. Rudduck sentenced Thompson to 57 months in prison with seven-and-a-half months of jail time credit, according to court records.

Thompson was arrested in September for the hit-and-run.

At 2:15 a.m. Aug. 19, Smith was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of South South and Sugartree streets in Wilmington. Smith was transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Through investigation, the Wilmington Police Department was able to review the surveillance videos from the surrounding businesses in the downtown area in order to identify the suspected vehicle. Police said the suspected vehicle was a dark-colored SUV.

Following an investigation by police, Thompson was named the suspect and was arrested on Sept. 13 by Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies. She was eventually transferred to Clinton County.

Court documents stated Thompson’s attorney said she was consuming alcoholic beverages at the bar she was employed at prior to the hit-and-run incident.

Thompson was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence offenses on two previous occasions — one in Greene County in 2018 and the second in Clinton County Municipal Court in 2022. Each charge was later reduced to the defendant being in “physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence, to which Thompson pleaded guilty.

At this week’s sentencing, the court found that the defendant is 26 years of age with a limited criminal history and no prior felony offenses. Thompson scored a “16” on the Ohio Risk Assessment report, placing her in the low to moderate risk of recidivism, according to court records.

Judge Rudduck found in his ruling: “To ensure the record is clear, the court disregards the more specific alleged facts in the state’s memorandum regarding defendant’s being under the influence but does consider defendant’s admission she had been consuming alcoholic beverage prior to operating her motor vehicle on August 19, 2023.

“In recommending the near maximum prison term be imposed, the state ignores a number of mitigating circumstances. Defendant accepts responsibility for her actions. She has a limited criminal history. She pled guilty to three serious crimes waiving her right to a jury trial. Defendant is extremely remorseful for her behavior on August 19, 2023. While most certainly defendant struck (Smith) while (Smith) was crossing a public highway within a marked cross walk, Smith did so and was crossing the highway despite the fact defendant had the right-of-way with a green traffic light.

“If defendant was traveling over the speed limit, it was only nominally and not normally considered a ‘severe danger’ to the public as the state alleges in its sentencing memorandum.

“The video of the incident, shown at the sentencing hearing by agreement of the parties, depicts (Smith) entering the crosswalk without the legal right to do so and then jogging across the public street before being struck by defendant’s vehicle.

“Defendant’s decision to leave the scene and then feebly try to conceal evidence is a more serious aggravating factor under these circumstances. The court cannot speculate on the outcome of this case had defendant responsibly stopped her motor vehicle at the time of the crash.”

Judge Rudduck said he read multiple letters received in support of the victim and the defendant.

“The court empathizes with all who are so adversely affected by this tragedy,” he said. “The Clinton County prosecutor and defense counsel worked tirelessly to reach an agreement the court finds reasonable.”

Thompson was sentenced to 30 months on the reckless homicide charge, with 228 days of jail time credit served through June 11. She was sentenced to 18 months on the failure to stop after accident charge and nine months on the tampering with evidence charge.

After Thompson is released from prison, she may be supervised on optional post-release by control by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority for a period of up to two years. Her license has been suspended for up to three years.

Thompson was ordered to pay all court costs of the action and to reimburse the state and Clinton County for costs of supervision, confinement and prosecution as authorized by law.

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