Trial date canceled for man charged in fatal pedestrian strike; competence questioned

A March trial date for a man accused of striking and killing a woman walking along a West Chester Twp. road last spring has been canceled, and his attorney now believes he may be incompetent.

Miguel Gomez-Alvarez, who is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, was in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday for a final hearing before his scheduled trial on March 20. Negotiations were ongoing to resolve the case with a plea agreement, but that did not happen and the case was continued nine times before the trial date was set last month.

Gomez-Alvarez’s attorney Lisa Rabanus filed a motion on Tuesday suggesting her client is not presently competent to stand trial and requested a forensic psychological evaluation. Judge Noah Powers II granted the motion and vacated the trial date.

Gomez-Alvarez, who remains house in the Butler County Jail in lieu for a $250,000 bond, is scheduled to be back on court April 3 for a competency hearing.

On May 29, Sherry Berna Haywood was killed after she was struck by a vehicle while walking on Muhlhauser Road just west of Ohio 747. The driver of the vehicle left the scene, but following a two–month investigation, a suspect was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.

Gomez-Alvarez, 31, was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on July 20 for aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to stop after an accident and operating a vehicle under the influence for allegedly hitting Haywood with his SUV killing her then leaving the scene.

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A security guard called West Chester Police after finding the 46-year-old Cincinnati on Muhlhauser Road just west of Ohio 747. She was dead at the scene. Haywood died of multiple traumatic injuries, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Prosecutors say Gomez-Alvarez of Springdale, had consumed alcohol and was driving without ever obtaining a license when he hit Haywood and fled. The badly damage SUV was found by a West Chester police officer on June 2 at The Willows Apartment Complex off Chesterdale Drive in Springdale.

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