Mehl was sitting on the sidewalk when officers arrived at the scene and appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic, according to the police report. A baggie containing pills was found in the crack of the seat where one of the children had been sitting, according to the police report.
Nolen Scott Jones, in front, with brother, Logan Watson SUBMITTED
At the police station, Mehl told officers the pills were Percocet. After failing a field sobriety test, Mehl was arrested.
Mehl was arraigned Wednesday morning in Hamilton Municipal Court, where bond was set at $75,000. But that afternoon, at the request of Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser, all the misdemeanor charges, including the OVI, were dismissed.
In a letter to the Hamilton Municipal Court prosecutor, Gmoser said Hamilton police have an ongoing investigation that could lead to an aggravated vehicular homicide charge as well as other charges.
“Our office has grave concerns over any plea (to the misdemeanor charges) that could affect the ability of our office to pursue additional, more serious charges stemming from Elizabeth Mehl’s operation of a vehicle,” Gmoser said in the letter.
Gmoser said that if Mehl pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in municipal court, that element of an alleged crime could not be used as an aggravated circumstance for a felony charge of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The doesn’t mean the OVI charge will disappear or won’t be considered, but “it means that I don’t want to do that now and give her an opportunity to plead guilty to it in the municipal court were I don’t have jurisdiction,” Gmoser said.
An attorney could advise Mehl to plead guilty to the misdemeanor OVI charge, and the county prosecutor would be barred from presenting evidence of that impaired driving to support a possible aggravated vehicular homicide charge.
Mehl is scheduled to be back May 19 in Hamilton Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing on the drug abuse charge, a fifth-degree felony. If Judge Dan Gattermeyer finds sufficient evidence, the case will be bound over to a grand jury for consideration. But there will be no chance Mehl can plead guilty to the misdemeanor charges, because they have been dismissed.
Mehl posted bond about 2 p.m. Wednesday. She was fitted with GPS and alcohol monitor.
A 6-year-old child was hit and killed Tuesday evening while crossing Pleasant Avenue in Hamilton's Lindenwald neighborhood NICK GRAHAM/STAFF