Trial delayed for suspect in deadly accident

By John Hamilton - [email protected]

WILMINGTON — A jury trial has been delayed for the suspect in a deadly car accident, due to sudden medical issue.

On Thursday, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John “Tim” Rudduck delayed the upcoming two-day trial for Thomas Watkins until further notice due to uncertainty following a medical emergency for the suspect.

According to court documents, a relative of Watkins advised defense counsel Amanda Waechter that he’s being treated at Clinton Memorial Hospital.

Rudduck decided not to revoke the bond despite Watkins failing to appear. However, Rudduck did direct the Clerk of Courts to issue an arrest order (a capias) on Watkins.

“(Watkins) is to be brought before the court to show cause why he failed to appear,” court documents state. “No new supplemental bond is established until defendant is apprehended.”

Watkins, 52, of Blanchester, was arraigned in February on two counts of alleged aggravated vehicular homicide — felony 1 and 2, respectively; and one count of alleged operating a vehicle while under the influence and driving under suspension — each a misdemeanor 1 charge.

Watkins has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The two-day jury trial was scheduled to begin October 12.

The charges stem from a wreck in July that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Douglas Ross III 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.

By John Hamilton

jhami[email protected]

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574