16-year-old driver in Clinton County double-fatality to be tried in adult court

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com

WILMINGTON — A 16-year-old driver whose two passengers died after a local February crash will be tried in adult criminal court.

The two passengers in the car, Wendy Brewer, 20, of Wilmington, and her daughter Arialla, 14 months, were pronounced dead at the scene by Clinton County coroner staff.

Earlier this month, Clayton Ramsden, 16, of Martinsville, was indicted with aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, endangering a child, marijuana trafficking and marijuana possession.

The four-vehicle crash occurred about 9:30 p.m. Feb. 18 near the National Weather Service facility on State Route 134.

Ramsden was in Clinton County Common Pleas Court for a pretrial Thursday, having been transported there from a juvenile detention center in Troy, Ohio. Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck denied a request from defense attorney Scott Evans to modify Ramsden’s bond.

Evans said his client was willing to cooperate with a house arrest or electronic monitoring. In requesting the reduction in bond, the attorney said the distance to Troy makes legal representation more difficult, and is a hardship to the attorney-client relationship and to the defendant’s family.

Assistant Clinton County Prosecutor Danielle Sollars said that since the February crash, Ramsden has twice driven with an expired temporary permit and allegedly was speeding in one instance. That makes him a potential risk to the community in light of the February crash “of such severity,” she told the judge.

In denying the bond reduction request, Rudduck said he is concerned about the February crash and Ramsden’s later actions.

The indictment papers allege the two marijuana counts stem from March 11.

With Clinton County Juvenile Judge Chad L. Carey agreeing with the prosecuting attorney’s office to transfer the juvenile to adult court, the case starts there at the beginning. However, as Rudduck noted, “substantial” evidence has already been provided to defense counsel in connection with the earlier proceedings of juvenile court.

After the Thursday hearing, Sollars said seeking transfer of a juvenile to adult court “is something we [prosecutor’s office] take very seriously.”

Among the reasons the prosecutor’s office asked for the change in jurisdiction, she said, are “the amount of harm suffered, and some subsequent behavior.”

Ramsden, who will turn 17 later this month, will face adult penalties if convicted in adult court, said Sollars. Those can include prison, though he currently is at the West Central Juvenile Detention Center because of the presumption of innocence.

Two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide against the defendant are felonies of the second degree.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) which investigated the crash, Ramsden was operating a Chevrolet Cavalier and was heading south on SR 134 when he attempted to pass a Chevrolet Equinox. The Cavalier then struck the Equinox from behind, went left of center, and struck head-on a northbound Buick Century, the OSHP reported.

The Cavalier then was struck by a second northbound vehicle, a Ford Taurus. The Cavalier caught fire and was completely engulfed, stated the OSHP.

Ramsden was transported to Miami Valley Hospital by CareFlight where he initially was listed in critical condition.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.


By Gary Huffenberger