Two Marion men involved in a November 2014 road-rage incident that left a woman dead were both sentenced to two years in prison Monday afternoon.
Richard C. Stephens, 36, and Andrew J. Miller, 30, both of Marion, were in Delaware County Common Pleas Court to be sentenced for aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony. Killed in the incident was Stephens’ wife, Brenda.
Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger said neither charge required him to sentence the men to prison but, when examining the seriousness of the crime and the impact the incident has had on the victim’s family, Krueger sentenced both men to 24 months in prison. Both men were also fined $5,000 and their driver licenses were permanently suspended.
Brenda’s mother, Sharon Kensler, tearfully spoke at both men’s sentencing Monday and said the men were family to her and she was angry at what they had done. She went on to tell Krueger that Brenda called her when the men were driving recklessly and said she could hear Brenda begging Richard to stop the car. She said that Richard made her listen to her daughter die.
Rohrer said Stephens was angry over alleged sexual contact between Miller and Stephens’ stepson. Rohrer told Krueger that Miller has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery in Marion County Common Pleas Court and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Stephens was also sentenced to six months in prison on a charge of improperly handling a firearm, a fourth-degree felony. Krueger ordered that the six months be served concurrent to the other charges.
The incident occurred on Nov. 1, 2014, when both men were returning from a junior varsity football game in Columbus. They spotted each other traveling north on Interstate 71 and began to drive recklessly.
Assistant county prosecutor Kyle Rohrer said the men got off I-71 at the exit to U.S. 36/SR 37 and 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, the vehicles struck each other, spinning out Miller’s car and sending Stephens’ truck into a guard rail, where it rolled over several times.
Brenda Stephens, a passenger traveling with her husband, was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Richard Stephens and Miller were treated for their injuries.
Both men were in the Delaware County Jail Monday afternoon.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.