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Ohio teacher killed by alleged drunk driver who fled scene

An Ohio man with a history of alcohol and drug-related criminal charges dating back close to 20 years has been charged in the death of a popular Cincinnati teacher. The victim was riding his bicycle on Round Bottom Road in Union, Ohio, when the defendant allegedly struck him with his van and then fled the scene earlier this month.

This marks the seventh time the defendant has faced charges in Clermont and Hamilton counties related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated since 1996. Some of the OVI arrests involved alcohol while others involved drugs. A local Cincinnati radio station, 700 WLW, reported that he had been convicted three times during that period for on DUI charges prior to the fatal Feb. 21 collision.

The victim, who taught English and was Dean of Students at Cincinnati Country Day School, was reported to be an avid cyclist. He was part of Cincinnati's "cycling community," according to The Cincinnati Cycle Club. Union Township police say the area where he was traveling was a popular one with bicyclists, and that he was abiding by the laws for bicyclists when he was fatally hit.

The Cincinnati Cycle Club is planning a "Ghost Ride" to honor the victim, but has postponed it indefinitely at the request of his family. These rides are held to call attention to the risks that cyclists face on the road and to serve "as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel," according to the club's president.

Although the defendant reportedly left the scene of the accident, police were able to locate and arrest him the following day with the help of people who worked at liquor stores in the area. He was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide as well as leaving the scene, and was jailed on $500,000 bond.

While he is facing criminal charges, the victim's family may also choose to file a civil suit against him. Victims of Ohio car accidents and their loved ones, whether they believe the criminal justice system has adequately held a defendant accountable or not, have every right to seek damages. These can be damages to cover financial losses, including future potential earnings, medical care burial costs, as well as punitive damages for the negligent or reckless actions that took the life of a beloved family member.

Source: WCPO, "7th OVI charge for suspect in Cincinnati Country Day School teacher's death" No author given, Feb. 22, 2014

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