Fayette Co. indicts 18-year-old for crash after prom


By Ryan Carter - [email protected]



WASHINGTON C.H. — An 18-year-old male has been indicted on vehicular assault and OVI charges for his alleged role in an April 30 one-vehicle accident that occurred after leaving the Miami Trace High School prom.

Kylan C. Knapp has been charged with aggravated vehicular assault (third-degree felony), vehicular assault (fourth-degree felony), and two counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drug of abuse (first-degree misdemeanors). He is scheduled to be arraigned in Fayette County Common Pleas Court on Monday, Sept. 26.

The crash occurred on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road at the intersection of Lewis Road in Union Township at approximately 10:07 p.m. April 30. Two individuals were involved — Knapp and Emily J. Helms, of New Holland, who is the victim in this case.

Knapp, of Washington C.H., was a Miami Trace student and Helms was his guest at the prom, according to authorities. Both reportedly suffered significant injuries.

According to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, a 2002 Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck was heading northeast on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road when Knapp lost control at the intersection of Lewis Road. The vehicle went off the left side of the roadway and crashed into a stop sign, landscape area and tree before coming to rest in the yard of a residence.

Knapp was pinned beneath the vehicle and was extricated by members of the Washington Fire Department, Stanforth said. The passenger in the vehicle, identified as Helms, is believed to have been ejected from the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Both Knapp and Helms were treated at the scene and then transported by Fayette County EMS to Adena-Fayette Hospital. They were subsequently transferred to an area trauma center for further medical treatment.

The vehicle sustained heavy damage in the crash and was towed from the scene.

“Prior to the crash, it was reported that the Knapp vehicle and possibly a second vehicle were operating in a reckless manner on the school parking lot,” Stanforth said. “A nearby deputy was alerted to the reckless operation by deputies working the prom event. As the deputy was entering the parking lot of the Miami Trace High School, the vehicle later determined to be operated by Knapp departed the Miami Trace High School parking lot at a high rate of speed traveling northeast on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road. The deputy turned around to exit the parking lot and attempted to catch up with the vehicle but lost sight and subsequently drove upon the crash, rendering aid to the occupants until the arrival of EMS.”

Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade explained the indictment charges to the Record-Herald.

“There are two vehicular assault counts and two different OVI counts,” said Weade. “With count one, the aggravated vehicular assault, the allegation is that a violation of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is what caused the crash and serious physical harm to Emily Helms. With count two, the allegation is that (Knapp) recklessly caused serious physical harm to Emily….that encompasses alcohol, speed, and any other factors involving the crash that may have allegedly happened that night that aren’t just related to alcohol. Ultimately, he can only be convicted of one of those since we’re talking about the same conduct.”

“With the two counts of OVI, the count three allegation is based upon the evidence we have that he operated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, but not necessarily a certain amount in his blood or urine. It’s the way of charging one without a test, so to speak,” said Weade. “Count four is the per se violation, that his blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit of .08”

According to the indictment, Knapp’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.083.

“There never was a breathalyzer, but there was a blood draw in the hospital after the accident,” said Weade. “It was all part of the investigation that led us to an indictment.”

Knapp is being represented by James R. Kingsley, according to court records.

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By Ryan Carter

[email protected]