Woman gets probation for drug charge in connection with crash that killed Hamilton boy

A 6-year-old child was hit and killed Tuesday evening while crossing Pleasant Avenue in Hamilton's Lindenwald neighborhood NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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A 6-year-old child was hit and killed Tuesday evening while crossing Pleasant Avenue in Hamilton's Lindenwald neighborhood NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A woman who hit and killed a boy in Hamilton’s Lindenwald neighborhood has been placed on probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge for pills found in the car at the time of the crash.

Nolen Scott Jones, 6, of Hamilton died of head injuries after he was struck by a car while crossing Pleasant Avenue about 6:45 p.m. on May 11. His 11-year-old brother, Logan Watson, was also injured.

The driver of the car, Elizabeth Ann Marie Mehl, 30, of Corwin Avenue in Hamilton, was indicted by a Butler County grand jury in August for aggravated possession of drugs, but not in connection with the fatal crash.

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Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said there wasn’t enough evidence for an indictment on charges connected to the pedestrian crash. He pointed to the evidence taken from Mehl by police and the investigation showed the victim darted into the road.

“We did not have the evidence to prove she was under the influence at the time of the collision,” Gmoser said. “That’s because all the analysis we had was urine, not blood, and the expert opinion was he could not say that she was under any degree of influence under the law.”

The prosecutor said if he would go to trial with the evidence they had, “I would automatically lose.”

Gmoser said the only admissible evidence in the case is that the child ran into the street and he was struck, and “that could happen to anybody.”

“It is unfortunate, but is does happen, that’s why the speed limit is 25 (mph) in residential areas,” he said.

Gmoser said the evidence was reviewed by two experts before the case was presented to grand jury.

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Hamilton police found a bag of Percocet pills was found in the seat of Mehl’s car, which led to the drug charge.

Mehl entered a plea of guilty to attempted aggravated possession of drugs, a first-degree misdemeanor, in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Monday. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail.

Judge Michael Oster Jr. sentenced Mehl to four years probation, a one-year license suspension and various other sanctions, including drug and alcohol monitoring.

Mehl’s defense attorney Jonathan Fox said downloaded data from car indicated Mehl was traveling 31 in a 25 mph zone at the time of the crash. A video from near by store showed the children darted in front of her vehicle.

Fox said Mehl previously had a prescription for Percocet and admitted to taking the drug earlier in the day. The urine sample showed only trace amounts in her system, the attorney said.

“The evidence just did not show she was driving recklessly,” Fox said. He added Mehl spent three months on house arrest awaiting the case to be presented to a grand jury.

Gmoser said the misdemeanor plea happened because “ultimately the difference between the low felony and an misdemeanor one is insignificant with respect with what a judge is going to be able to do for punishment. I thought it was in the interest for justice to get his case behind us and move on.”

Mehl had no prior criminal record and would not have gone to prison even if she pled to a fifth-degree felony, Gmoser said.

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Elizabeth Mehl BUTLER COUNTY JAIL

Elizabeth Mehl BUTLER COUNTY JAIL
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Elizabeth Mehl BUTLER COUNTY JAIL

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