Jun 10, 2014

What happened to woman accused of texting while driving leading to homicide charge?

I haven't seen an update about Rebecca Schroyer since January 2013. What ever became of her charges for killing that man on Ohio 60? Pete in Sandusky

It appears this this controversial case is still ongoing.

Schroyer was charged with two offenses: tampering with evidence and vehicular homicide.

Each charge went to a separate court:

Tamper with evidence

This charge was dismissed by Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone some time ago, according to court documents. No other information is available.

Vehicular homicide

Here's what we know, with information provided by clerk employee Tami Horton based on the vehicular homicide charge.

• Rebecca Schroyer is currently on probation. On Aug. 22, 2013, an entry states: "(Schroyer) reports defendant is complying with all court orders. Therefore, jail sentence is stayed pending further order of court.

• If she is to serve jail, it will be in Erie County.

• Fine structure: $1000.00 fine $619.00 costs, 180 days jail (potentially suspended) and two year of suspension.  She makes regular payments and has a balance of $738.62 (as of June 2014).

The Mailbag is a daily feature on sanduskyregister.com. Each weekday at noon, we will post one question from a reader and answer it. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or email mailbag@sanduskyregister.com. Please include your first name and a location in the email, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."

Comments

Babo

Why not contact Prosecutor Baxter's office and find out what kind of deal she received. The original story states both charges were felonies of the third degree and filed in Vermillion municipal court. Felonies cannot remain in that court so either she waived Indictment or Baxter obtained an indictment on her.

The tampering with evidence count somehow ended up in Judge Tone's court and was dismissed. Your story claims the charges pended in two different courts but if they were both felonies they both have to be in Erie County Common Pleas Court. This suggests the other charge was reduced to misdemeanor vehicular homicide and that Baxter never presented the case to the Grand Jury. It also explains why she was able to receive probation because it was only a misdemeanor of the First degree.

This case deserved a lot more publicity as it appears Ms. Schroyer got a really great deal for killing a man even though she admitted she was texting and driving.

sassy_girl

According to the Vermilion Municipal Court website this is her sentence:

04/25/2013
Case Set For A Review Hearing On 07/25/2013 At 2:00 Pm
Fine Amount $1000.00
Criminal Costs On & After 4/9/10 $80.00
2 Years Probation Costs $504.00
Fee Agreement/Wage Assignment 30 Days $10.00
Je
Fee Agreement
Review Hearing Notice For 7/25/13 Re:Jail Sentence
Def. Pled No Contest, Found G, Fine 1000.00, Susp .00
Costs 619.00, Susp .00
Jail 180, Susp, Ol Susp From 04/25/2013 To 04/25/2015
Special Conditions:
2yr. License Suspension/Driving Privileges Granted After
Defendant Completes Driver Improvement Class, With Proof Of
Insurance.
2yrs. Good Behavior.
1yr. Active Probation + 1yr. Inactive Probation.
200 Hours Of Community Service;At Least 100 Hours Speaking
To Schools, Youth Groups, Other Organizations About The
Dangers Of Distracted Driving/Cell Phones/Texting Use,
50 Hours At Hospice, 50 Hours At Organization To Be Approved
By Probation Officer-All To Be Monitored By Probation
Officer.

I can't believe people just walk away free when they kill people now. It's disgusting and disrespectful.

Pete

So basically it boils down to Mr. Hering's life was worth.... NOTHING!

This really irritates the heck out of me!

BTW it was me that asked this question. I ride, most of my friends ride, and this is absolutely ridiculous!

I cannot grasp they let her walk away.

Babo

Look to Prosecutor Baxter's office as it would have been his decision not to present this case to the Grand Jury as a felony vehicular homicide case. The facts as reported merited a felony count.

Pete

Hey but Baxter did this:

05/21/2013
Upon Motion Of Prosecutor, Defendant's Cell Phone May Be
Released To Her.
Any Video Tapes Of Defendant's Interview May Be Destroyed.
W. Zack Dolyk, Judge

So at least she got the phone back SHE WAS ON WHEN SHE KILLED THE GUY!!!!!

Babo

I reviewed the dockets for both of her cases in Vermilion Municipal Court and somebody either messed up or she got a huge favor for some reason.

Trooper Zehnder filed criminal complaints for what he thought were two felonies (according to the newspaper) and the complaints were filed in Vermilion Municipal Court. The Complaint for Tampering with Evidence correctly reflected the proper code section and that it was a felony of the third degree. Accordingly, the case was bound over to Erie County Common Pleas Court pending indictment.

However, the complaint for Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (felony) which is what Trooper Zehnder intended to charge (felony of the third degree) improperly reflected the code section for Vehicular Homicide as a misdemeanor of the first degree. Not surprisingly, the Defendant jumped on the chance to plead No Contest to the misdemeanor and it was never bound over.
Here's the link to the docket on that case: http://www.vermilionmunicipalcou...

Big question for me is why didn't the Trooper and City Prosecutor catch that she was undercharged and ask that the case be dismissed and refiled as a felony? Sure sounds like this woman or her family may know somebody.

Pete

Must have known someone, as it wasn't money it seems. She had a court appointed attorney:

Attorney Name: Harsh Tandon, Ct. Appt.

Babo

Well somebody erred. The statute requires the charging officer to specify which subsection of (A) he is charging. The section used by the Court is not a charging section but the penalty section. Thus arguably the Complaint was not valid and should have been thrown out by the Court.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2903.06

The Answer Person

This really boggles the mind. Money talks and she walks.

holysee

Quit complaining. We live in a CAPITALIST society and the woman texting was making money for the telco shareholders when she texted.
DO NOT restrict the freedom of corporations to maximize profit.

red white and blue

Once again Baxter drops the ball how many more of his leanancly will the taxpayers put up with between him and judge O'Brien will never have to worry about jails being crowded

Babo

In fairness to Judge O'Brien this case occurred in Vermilion Municipal Court not Sandusky Municipal Court and Judge Dolyk and the Vermilion City Prosecutor are the ones who need to explain what looks like intentional undercharging on this case. Though, you're right that Baxter could have done.

LookingDown

What dies O'Brien have to do with this?

mamaoftwo

I happened to drive by this accident, shortly after it occurred (but after police were on the scene). It really shook me up for a long time, and I will never forget it. I'm really sad to see this sentence... Please everyone, put away the phones! Let's not have this happen ever again! It only takes a minute to pull over somewhere safe, and then text or call. If it's not important enough to take the time to do this, then it can wait!

From the Grave

I agree with you, but people are also looking at GPS while driving, especially around here with so many tourists, so...
PLUS, why hasn't EVERYONE made the commitment to NOT drive after drinking? I have.

sorryhog

WHAT A COVER-UP!

Rosa

The powers that be should have made an example of this kind of irresponsible death causing behavior. Instead, people will not think twice about texting and driving, the penalties were not that bad for killing a person, so it must be much less for causing an accident. SHAMEFUL for the judge and prosecutor.

sash

I hate to rain on everyone's conspiracy parade, but she was properly charged under Ohio law. If the accident is the result of a minor misdemeanor(ORC 4511.204 Texting while driving), the ORC classifies that as negligent and the resulting charge as vehicular homicide, first degree misdemeanor. No deal, payoff, or conspiracy involved, just the law. If we want higher charges, then we need to push our lawmakers to put some bite into our texting law.

Babo

Yes, but the Trooper noted it was Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, told the media it was an F3 and section (A)(2) "recklessly" applies on the facts of the case. Sure she was committing a minor misdemeanor but the additional facts that she dragged him 90 feet and the motorcycle was wedged in her car indicate she acted recklessly not just negligently.

IMO, she should have been charged with (A)(2) a felony of the third degree at the scene and the case bound over to the grand jury. This case and the victim deserved a lot more attention from the courts than received

sash

The Trooper makes a "best guess" and will err on the side of an over-charge, but they don't get to make the final determination because it's not their job. Whether she dragged him 90 feet or 9 feet has absolutely nothing to do with the legal difference between reckless and negligence. She wasn't speeding, weaving in and out of traffic or high on drugs or alcohol, or driving the wrong way on the interstate. It was an accident caused by a distracted driver, not a wanton and willful disregard to safety. There isn't a driver in the state, or a reader on this forum, who hasn't been distracted while driving. Thankfully, there usually aren't tragic results to our inattention or distraction. The State recognizes the difference between a normally safe driver making a tragic mistake and a driver who is willfully and deliberately driving in a dangerous manner.

Babo

She dragged him 90 feet and the motorcycle was jammed into her car upright. That's a lot of force. How do you know she wasn't speeding or weaving, or failing to keep an assured clear distance?

The Trooper on the scene made the initial charge and he felt if was Agg Vehicular Homicide and met the standard for recklessness. Let a grand jury decide whether it was reckless of negligent after hearing from the Trooper and accident reconstruction specialists.

What bothers me with this case is that it was never fully developed and publicized.

sash

She didn't drag him 90 ft. He was catapulted off the bike on impact. The car pushed the bike 90 feet. Accident reconstruction(skid marks) tell whether she was speeding or out of her lane. Troopers and police will always up-charge until all evidence is in and the prosecutor can evaluate and choose the most appropriate charges under the law. Let the jury decide? You're kidding, right? For any law to be just, it needs to be applied equitably across the board. Legislature has laid out, in detail, what the State considers appropriate charges under different circumstances. The law could never be just, or equitable, if it was dependent on the daily whims of jurors, of different jurisdictions, to decide WHAT the law is. Why bother to write any laws? If we're going to let citizens decide what the law is, we might as well just call it what it is... mob justice.