Man gets 4-year prison term in Clinton County case for reckless fleeing, possessing meth

By Gary Huffenberger -

WILMINGTON — A Montgomery County man — the driver of a vehicle pursued by the highway patrol in Clinton County last Halloween — has received a four-year prison term for fleeing from a law officer and for possessing meth.

During the three-county vehicle pursuit, James R. Crolley, 34, of Germantown, drove his vehicle the wrong way on the Wilmington bypass and did the same thing where State Route 73 is four lanes near Harveysburg. During the incident, two law enforcement cruisers were damaged, as was Crolley’s Pontiac Grand Prix.

After the vehicle stopped in Warren County, it was inventoried and inside there were 15 hypodermic needles, a golf-ball size bag with crystal substance, a scale, multiple empty capsules, crystal substance, and capsules and caps with residue.

According to a court paper, Crolley admitted he was under the influence of heroin at the time of the Oct. 31, 2017 vehicle pursuit.

At the time of the incident, Crolley reportedly had a suspended driver’s license, as well as active felony and misdemeanor warrants.

In sentencing Crolley to prison, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck gave several reasons for his decision.

“While defendant attributes his behavior in Clinton County to using illegal drugs, his criminal history spans nearly two decades,” stated Rudduck.

That criminal record includes, the judge said, at least nine separate felony offenses. Crolley has been imprisoned before for courts in Greene and Montgomery Counties, added Rudduck.

“While defendant claims he has never received treatment, the record reflects otherwise. Defendant was terminated from the MonDay Program, a community-based correctional facility in Montgomery County for non-compliance,” noted the judge.

When placed under community controls in Montgomery County, Crolley “absconded” from supervision personnel, according to Rudduck.

Rudduck also noted that Crolley admitted he was driving impaired — under the influence of heroin — during the vehicle pursuit.

In addition to the 48-month prison term, Crolley’s operator license is suspended for 10 years. He received time credit toward the prison term for the 255 days he’d already spent in jail on the case.

A passenger in the vehicle, Michael Randall McGlothin, 31, of New Lebanon, received a two-year prison term earlier this year for tampering with evidence and possessing meth. He reportedly tossed a white crystal substance out of one of the vehicle’s windows during the pursuit.

At other recent sentencings in Clinton County:

• Mary M. McCoy, 22, of West Chester, found guilty of attempted possession of LSD, received a suspended six-month jail term for the first-degree misdemeanor conviction. She also was fined $250, and ordered to pay all court costs. She was granted credit for spending three days in jail. The contraband was ordered to be forfeited for destruction.

• Joshua Paul Bayless, 36, of Wilmington, previously found guilty in a 2012 case of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals to make drugs, had his community control term revoked and was given a five-year prison term. He was granted credit for 1,799 days already spent in incarceration on the case, and the balance of his imprisonment will be served locally in the Clinton County Jail.

At the same sentencing hearing, Bayless, having been found guilty of failing to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, had his driver’s license suspended. He also must pay all court costs in this second case.

• Trent Allen Conger, 43, of Clarksville, found guilty of possessing drugs, received a suspended six-month jail term, and was placed on community control sanctions for one year. He must pay all court costs and a public defender fee. He was granted credit for the two days he served in jail on the case. The judge ordered the contraband forfeited.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger