After lessons in U.S. legal system, driver in fatal Mulhauser Road crash will have court trial

On May 29, 2022, Sherry Berna Haywood was killed after she was struck while walking on Muhlhauser Road just west of Ohio 747 in West Chester Twp. The man accused of driving the vehicle has now been restored to competency after some lessons about the U.S. legal system.

Miguel Gomez-Alvarez, 32, was indicted by a Butler County grand jury in July 2022 for aggravated vehicular homicide, OVI and failure to stop after an accident following a two-month investigation by police.

A March 2023 trial was set and plea negotiations were ongoing when his defense attorney filed a motion questioning Gomez-Alvarez’s ability to understand the legal proceedings against him.

After two forensic psychological evaluations, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II made an incompetency ruling in June.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Katie Pridemore said Gomez-Alvarez’s incompetence for trial was based on his inability to understand the legal system, not a mental health issue. He speaks Spanish and received a limited education in his native Mexico.

“He remains locked up. The forensics center is going to be in charge of teaching him the American legal system. He does not have a mental defect, he does not have a mental illness,” Pridemore said after the incompetency ruling.

In August, Powers ruled Gomez-Alvarez has been restored to competency.

Earlier this month, a Jan. 29 trial date was set. Gomez-Alvarez is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 11 for a final pretrial hearing.

A security guard called West Chester Police after finding the 46-year-old Cincinnati woman 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 said Gomez-Alvarez of Springdale had consumed alcohol and was driving without 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.

Gomez-Alvarez remains in the Butler County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond.

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