Teen admits fault for Bike Week crash

Stark County family court will handle sentencing later this month
Shawn Foucher
Dec 5, 2013
A 16-year-old Stark County boy entered the equivalent of a guilty plea this week for causing a fatal SUV-versus-motorcycle crash in Sandusky during Ohio Bike Week.
In juvenile court, children admit to responsibility for a crime; they do not plead guilty.

On June 3, the boy was driving a Jeep Cherokee that pulled in front of a motorcycle on Ohio 101 in Sandusky. The driver of the motorcycle, Kristina McGraw, 48, of Sandusky, was later pronounced dead at the hospital, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said at the time.

About a month later, the Cantonarea teen was charged with vehicular homicide and cited for failure to yield the right-of-way.

Troopers had said the teen was an inexperienced driver, which played a role in the crash.

When the boy appeared in Erie County juvenile court Monday, he admitted his delinquency to the charge of vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor. The traffic citation was dismissed, according to court officials.

Judge Robert DeLamatre said McGraw’s husband attended the hearing and consented to the result.

“It’s a tragic circumstance,” DeLamatre said. “Essentially, (the teen) had stopped to make a left-hand turn, and he thought it was clear”

Alcohol, drugs and the vehicle’s speed were not factors in the crash.

While DeLamatre handled this leg of the case, it will now be sent to Stark County’s family court for sentencing. Juvenile cases can be transferred to an offender’s home county for sentencing.

In this case, the teen could face up to 90 days in a detention center, although that’s unlikely. DeLamatre said he offered no recommendation to Stark County officials on sentencing, but there were no extenuating circumstances — such as drugs, alcohol or reckless operation — that showed the boy was grossly negligent.

McGraw’s husband did not request the boy serve time in a detention center, DeLamatre said.

Stark County family court administrator Rick DeHeer said the teen will be sentenced later this month.