Fairfield man tearfully testifies before sentencing in fiery fatal crash case

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Calvin and Brenda Todd stopped after the crash on Ohio 129

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Tracy Moore hugged his parents, then walked to the front of the Butler County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday afternoon wearing a suit and holding a tissue in his left hand.

Moore, of Fairfield, had already admitted guilt in a fiery October 2017 crash that killed a Hamilton woman on Ohio 129. He was indicted in April 2018 by a Butler County grand jury on the second-degree felony charge and a lower felony charge of vehicular homicide.

After 30 minutes of tearful testimony, Moore, 45, was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom by a Butler County Sheriff deputy. Moore’s attorney, Ken Crehan, asked for probation, and the victim’s family wrote a letter to the Butler County prosecutor asking for leniency.

But Judge Noah Powers II sentenced Moore to 60 days in Butler County jail and suspended his driver’s license for a lifetime. Moore faced five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

MORE: Man who drove concrete truck into SUV admits guilt in 2017 fatal Hamilton crash

On Oct. 20, 2017, the concrete bucket truck driven by Moore was traveling west on Ohio 129 near Fair Avenue when it rear-ended the SUV driven by Deanna Gilreath, 58. Gilreath’s Jeep Liberty burst into flames, and she died at the scene.

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In October, a concrete bucket truck traveling west on Ohio 129 near Fair Avenue rear-ended the SUV driven by Deanna Gilreath. Gilreath’s Jeep Liberty burst into flames and the 58-year-old Hamilton woman was killed at the scene. The driver of the concrete bucket truck, Tracy Moore, did not have a valid operator’s license, according to the police report. LAUREN PACK/STAFF

In October, a concrete bucket truck traveling west on Ohio 129 near Fair Avenue rear-ended the SUV driven by Deanna Gilreath. Gilreath’s Jeep Liberty burst into flames and the 58-year-old Hamilton woman was killed at the scene. The driver of the concrete bucket truck, Tracy Moore, did not have a valid operator’s license, according to the police report. LAUREN PACK/STAFF

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In October, a concrete bucket truck traveling west on Ohio 129 near Fair Avenue rear-ended the SUV driven by Deanna Gilreath. Gilreath’s Jeep Liberty burst into flames and the 58-year-old Hamilton woman was killed at the scene. The driver of the concrete bucket truck, Tracy Moore, did not have a valid operator’s license, according to the police report. LAUREN PACK/STAFF

The truck was estimated to have been traveling 65 mph when it struck Gilreath’s SUV, according to police. The posted speed limit on Ohio 129 at Fair Avenue is 35 mph.

Moore said as he drove down Ohio 129, he applied the brakes, but they didn’t work. The traffic on Ohio 129 was backed up, and there was a school bus, with tinted windows, on his right, he testified. He didn’t want to hit the bus because he couldn’t tell if there were children inside, he testified.

“I had one option,” he said.

Seconds after he slammed into Gilreath’s vehicle, it caught fire, and Moore said he raced to the vehicle, opened the door and tried to cut her loose from her seat belt. Moore caught fire and he was pulled away by a firefighter.

“It happened so fast,” he said.

 

Moore said that when he was going to get Gilreath out of the vehicle, she put her hands skyward and said, “It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK.”

Crehan said those events “haunted Tracy from that second for the rest of his life.”

Since the accident, Moore has been diagnosed with mental illness and anxiety and lost weight, his attorney said.

“He’s so regretful, so remorseful,” Crehan said.

Powers noted that Moore, driving a truck from Tri-State Concrete in Hamilton, knew the truck’s brakes were failing, and by driving the truck, he was putting everyone at risk, especially those on Ohio 129 where the speed limit is 65 mph.

Powers said Moore was “responsible” in many respects for causing the fatal crash.

“You knew all the while your brakes may not work,” the judge told Moore. “I’m not going to hold you blameless for that.”

Gilreath’s husband didn’t attend the sentencing, and three members of her family declined comment.

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