At the request of the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, the misdemeanor charges were dismissed in Hamilton Municipal Court to avoid possible double jeopardy issues because the continuing crash investigation could result in more serious charges at the common pleas court level.
Mehl, who is free on $70,000 bond, was in municipal court Wednesday where Judge Dan Gattermeyer found sufficient evidence to bind the drug abuse charge over to grand jury.
Nolen Scott Jones, in front, with brother, Logan Watson SUBMITTED
During a preliminary hearing, Hamilton Officer Josh Crowthers testified Mehl was “visibly upset” when he saw her sitting on the sidewalk near the crash site at Pleasant and Symmes Avenue.
“I didn’t see her right away,” Crowthers testified. He said he ran toward screaming at the scene and saw a little boy in the street.
“The boy said his leg hurt. He was talking on the phone. Then he said his brother was up the street, when I turned around I saw the little boy, Nolen, laying on his back in the street. I ran towards him, there was a man doing CPR.”
The officer said he took over the life saving duties for a few seconds before the EMS squad arrived.
“That’s when I saw Ms. Mehl sitting in the south bound lane on the sidewalk,” Crowthers said. He tried to get her to calm down and provide identification.
Officers searched the car and a cellophane baggie containing nine pills was found. Mehl told officers the pills were Percocet and that she would fail a drug test.
The case of a second woman at the crash scene charged with tampering with evidence was also part of the preliminary hearing.
Hortencia Garcia, 26, was charged with tampering with evidence, a felony, for retrieving a “wad” of cash from Mehl’s car and stuffing it in her bra. Garcia stopped at the scene because she said she knew Mehl.
Crowthers testified Garcia first retrieved Mehl’s purse from the car so that police could identify her. She later took a small purse containing more that $1,000 out of the car and concealed it in her bra, the officer said.
Garcia’s case was also sent to the grand jury for consideration. She remains housed in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bond.
A 6-year-old child was hit and killed Tuesday evening while crossing Pleasant Avenue in Hamilton's Lindenwald neighborhood NICK GRAHAM/STAFF