A fatal road-rage case that sent two men to prison Monday apparently stemmed from a conflict caused by one man having sexual contact with the other man’s stepson.
Those details were revealed Monday when Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger sentenced both Richard C. Stephens, 36, and Andrew J. Miller, 30, both of Marion, to two years in prison. Killed in the incident was Stephens’ wife, Brenda.
Prosecutors at the sentencing Monday said there was bad blood between the two men after Miller allegedly had sexual contact with Stephens’ stepson.
Court documents say that between July 1, 2013, and Feb. 14, 2014, Miller was responsible for watching Stephens’ stepson, a 15-year-old, during the day and at several points in that time frame Miller engaged in sexual conduct with the boy.
Assistant county prosecuting attorney Kyle 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. Court documents say Miller will be sentenced in Marion County on Oct. 14 at 11:30 a.m.
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 two men spotted each other on Interstate 71 north on the afternoon of Nov. 1, 2014, as they were returning from a junior varsity football game in Columbus, where Stephens’ stepson had been playing. Rohrer said that the men began to drive recklessly, cutting each other off and brake-checking each other.
Eventually the men got onto U.S. 36 heading toward Delaware and continued to drive recklessly. Rohrer said the men’s vehicles clipped each other at one point and both vehicles spun out. Miller ended up on the side of the road, unharmed, but Richard Stephens, along with his passenger and wife, Brenda Stephens, hit a guard rail and Brenda was thrown from the truck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Miller and Richard Stephens were treated for their injuries.
Both men were convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony.
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.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.