Police searching for man charged in fatal New Year’s Day crash

Police searching for man charged in fatal New Year’s Day crash

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Deshawn Rippey, of Hamilton, is wanted for the Jan. 1 fatal crash that killed Mariama-Maria Richlen, 24, of West Chester Twp. He is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. (BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Five months after shots were fired outside a Middletown bar and a woman was killed when a fleeing car crashed, the driver has been indicted by a Butler County grand jury.

Deshawn Rippey, 22, is now charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, a first-degree felony, for allegedly crashing a Buick into the stone wall at the rear of St. John’s Church, killing front seat passenger, Mariama-Maria Richlen, 24, West Chester Twp.

On Friday, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that they were looking for Rippey. He is not yet in jail.

According to Middletown police, Rippey was badly injured in the crash and spent several weeks hospitalized.

At 2:19 a.m. Jan. 1, police responded to a report of shots fired outside the 513 Lounge, 601 N. Verity Parkway. Two off-duty Middletown police officers were working detail at the bar because of a New Year’s Eve party there when they heard shots being fired from the parking area behind the bar, according to the report.

As the two officers neared one of the vehicles, they identified themselves as officers, demanding the subjects not get in the vehicle, the report said. But several people got in the car, including the driver, later identified Rippey.

Rippey quickly started the vehicle, placed it in reverse and began backing up, police said. The officer had Rippey at gunpoint, and gave him commands to stop the car, but he refused and pulled back into the parking spot at a high rate of speed, then drove over the curb and began traveling south on Clark Street, the police report said.

More Middletown police officers arrived and one officer said Rippey’s car was spotted ahead of him on Clark Street and the car ran several stop signs. The Buick then crashed into the wall.

Richlen was pronounced dead at the scene Rippey was taken by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton with critical injuries. Two of the back-seat passengers were transported to West Chester Hospital and one to Kettering Medical Center with unknown injuries, police said.

Three guns were recovered near where Richlen was killed and one of the guns was stolen, according to police.

Detectives are also continuing to investigate the fatal shooting of Teresa Shields, 26, of Middletown, who was a passenger in a 2010 Audi driven by Steven Waldon during the early morning hours of Jan. 1. The vehicle was hit multiple times by gunfire near the intersection of Roosevelt and Wicoff, across the street from fire headquarters. Waldon and Shields suffered several gunshot wounds, and Waldon drove them and two other passengers to the Atrium Medical Center emergency room where she died.

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