Road rage trial rescheduled


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com



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The trial of a Marion man accused in a fatal “road-rage” crash has been rescheduled.

Andrew J. Miller, 30, was originally scheduled to stand trial Tuesday to face a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, but his attorney filed a motion on Aug. 7 to continue the trial.

The motion, submitted by defense attorney Jeffrey P. Uhrich, stated that Uhrich is required to present oral arguments in two unrelated cases. The document adds that Miller had retained an accident-reconstruction expert to submit a report by Aug. 7 and that, by postponing the trial, both prosecutors and the defense will have time to thoroughly review the report.

Judge Everett Krueger approved the motion Aug. 12 and set the new trial date for Oct. 6.

Miller was originally to be tried with Richard Charles Stephens Jr. 36, also of Marion, the other driver in the November 2014 crash, but Stephens changed his plea to guilty on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, and improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, at a hearing on May 13.

Stephens’ wife, Brenda Stephens, was killed in the accident which, prosecutors allege, was caused by a “road-rage” encounter between Miller and Stephens in Delaware County.

Stephens will be sentenced on Aug. 24.

As part of the conditions of a plea agreement, Stephens is required to testify against Miller.

Assistant county prosecutor Kyle Rohrer said the crash was the result of “bad blood from prior deals” between the two men. Rohrer said both men had attended a junior varsity football game in Columbus the morning of the crash and were driving back to Marion on Interstate 71 when they spotted each other and began to drive recklessly.

“They noticed each other and starting brake-checking each other,” Rohrer said during Stephens’ February arraignment. “When they got off at the exit to U.S. 36/SR 37, they stopped at the light and were side by side. Mr. Stephens rolled down the window and was spitting at Mr. Miller’s car and said, ‘If I had a gun, I’d shoot you.’”

Rohrer said witnesses and admissions from both drivers indicate that, while Stephens and Miller were driving west on U.S. 36 that afternoon, they were cutting each other off. Rohrer said Stephens was in front of Miller at one point and, when Miller tried to pass on the left, Stephens swerved left and clipped the rear of Miller’s vehicle.

The crash spun out Miller’s car and sent Stephens’ truck spinning, until it struck a guard rail and rolled over several times.

Brenda Stephens was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Richard Stephens and Miller were taken to Riverside Methodist and treated for their injuries.

The charge against Miller is also a third-degree felony.

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By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.