Fatal police chase: Convicted Dayton woman claims mental illness, attorney quits appeal

This car was driven by Mary Taulbee, who died in a high-speed Moraine police chase on September 2018. Taulbee was not involved the police chase when her car was hit by a Moraine cruiser driven by Officer Matt Barrie. Alyssa Irwin-Debraux of Dayton pleaded guilty to charges connected with Taulbee's death and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. STAFF
This car was driven by Mary Taulbee, who died in a high-speed Moraine police chase on September 2018. Taulbee was not involved the police chase when her car was hit by a Moraine cruiser driven by Officer Matt Barrie. Alyssa Irwin-Debraux of Dayton pleaded guilty to charges connected with Taulbee's death and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. STAFF

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

DAYTON — A second appeal in the sentencing of a Dayton woman convicted in a Warren County real estate agent’s death during a high-speed police chase has led to her attorney withdrawing, according to court records.

But first-time offender Alyssa Irwin-Debraux said her 13-year sentence in the 2018 death of Mary Taulbee, 57, in Miami Twp. should be reduced, citing — in part — ineffective counsel and her “intoxification and untreated mental illness” at the time of the crash, according to court documents.

Court-appointed defense attorney Adam Arnold asked the 2nd District Court of Appeals to allow him to step down as Irwin-Debraux’s counsel after he could “find no error by the trial court prejudicial to the rights of the appellant that may be argued to this court of appeal.”

However, the defendant, 20, feels “like all of the facts weren’t stated in my case,” she said in a handwritten filing.

Alyssa Irwin-Debraux
Alyssa Irwin-Debraux

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

Mary Taulbee
Mary Taulbee

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

Irwin-Debraux said she has diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder and depression, and she said those issues were not properly taken into account.

“I just turned 18 when the incident had (taken) place,” she stated in court documents. “But, I didn’t kill anyone.”

Taulbee — who worked in Dayton, Englewood, Lebanon, Miamisburg, Springboro and Washington Twp. — died after a collision with a Moraine police cruiser driven by officer Matt Barrie.

A grand jury cleared Barrie of any criminal liability.

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Arnold has asked the court of appeals to review the issue to see if it can find any grounds for appeal. The case is set for a hearing Tuesday, court records show.

If the court finds “any non-frivolous issues, new counsel will then be appointed,” Judges Mary Donovon and Jeffrey M. Welbaum stated in an Aug. 3 filing.

Irwin-Debraux pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, failure to comply with an order or signal or a police officer and grand theft of a motor vehicle in the Sept. 11, 2018, wreck that killed Taulbee in an Ohio 741 chase that went through Moraine, Miami Twp. and Miamisburg.

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Prior to that day, she had no criminal record, authorities said.

Arnold stated in a May filing Irwin-Debraux acknowledged that she “failed to stop after a law enforcement officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The failure to comply turned into a high-speed chase resulting in traffic accident killing the driver of another automobile.”

But the defendant said the arresting officer did not follow protocol and Irwin-Debraux was “not in her right mind” after taking illegal drugs, cocaine and meth, court records show.

“I am taking responsibility for my grand theft auto, and my failure to comply, but I did not kill anyone,” Irwin-Debraux wrote in a June court filing.

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A previous sentencing appeal was upheld last year on procedural issues.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Krumholtz had sentenced Irwin-Debraux in February 2019 to 11 years on the manslaughter charge and 18 months each on the other charges back-to-back-to-back instead of at the same time.

In January of this year, after the appeal was upheld, Krumholtz gave the woman to the same sentence.

The fatal wreck happened after Barrie sought to pull over a Jeep driven by the defendant on Ohio 741 after hearing of a report of a theft which matched the vehicle. The driver of the Jeep fled, prompting the chase, which reached speeds of up to 80 mph, records show.

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Authorities said Barrie pursued the Jeep south into Miami Twp.

During the chase, a car heading north on Ohio 741 attempted to pull over into another lane to avoid being hit by the Jeep, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The northbound car hit the back of a Hyundai being driven by Taulbee at the Carnation Road intersection. The impact caused Taulbee to lose control of the car and spin in front of the Moraine cruiser, authorities said. The cruiser struck the Hyundai, killing Taulbee.

Irwin-Debraux continued south on Ohio 741, authorities said. The Jeep flipped over just south of the Ohio 725 intersection.

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