Man sentenced for vehicular homicide in death of 22-year-old

News Journal staff

WILMINGTON — A man found guilty of vehicular homicide was sentenced to 180 days suspended jail time Tuesday by Judge Mike Daugherty for causing the death in Clinton County of a 22-year-old woman in a three-vehicle crash in late 2017.

Ethan Adkins, 20, of Hillsboro, pled no contest and was found guilty of the first-degree misdemeanor on Jan. 11 in Clinton County Municipal Court.

Adkins’ driver’s license will be suspended for five years and he must pay a $1,000 fine along with court costs. He’ll also have to take part in mandatory supervised probation for an indefinite period, and have electric monitoring with a GPS electric monitoring device.

“In determining the sentencing for a misdemeanor, the court shall consider the nature and circumstances of the offense,” said Daugherty. “The court has been advised this was not something planned. This was, at least, irresponsible, driving while exhausted. At worst, reckless.”

He added, “I can’t find that this is the worst form of conduct. It is certainly the worst thing that could happen when somebody operates a car. I can’t imagine anything worse that could ever happen, then for another wonderful, loving person, a person so deeply loved by her family to die.”

The case stems from a Nov. 3, 2017 crash that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Hailee Heflin of Hillsboro on State Route 73 at Antioch Road in Union Township. Five others were injured.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s investigation, Adkins, 19 at the time, rear-ended Heflin, who was driving southeast on State Route 73 when she slowed to make a left turn upon approaching Antioch Road. This forced Heflin into traffic where she was struck head-on by a third vehicle. Heflin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Heflin’s passenger, her now 3-year-old son, was transported to Greene County Memorial Hospital in critical condition. The four occupants of the third vehicle were transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Adkins had no reported injuries.

Before sentencing, statements from the family were read saying they “don’t forgive” Adkins and that he caused a lot of damage and pain through Heflin’s death and the brain damage her son has now. One statement indicated they didn’t want Adkins to just get “a slap on the wrist” in punishment.

Two family friends of Adkins said he feels grief every day for what happened, and spoke highly of his character and didn’t feel he should be punished.

Adkins himself addressed the court saying he was sorry for what had happened. Daughtery asked him if he wished to address Heflin’s family. Adkins turned and apologized saying if he could take it back he would with one Heflin family member saying, “I’m sure you would.”

News Journal staff