‘You gave a life sentence to two girls’: Strong statements before Hamilton woman sentenced in crash that injured Edgewood students

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Samantha Harvey was sentenced Wednesday, March 3, 2021 to 66 months in prison for a May 2020 crash that injured two Edgewood students.

A Hamilton woman was sentenced to prison Wednesday for a May crash that seriously injured two Edgewood students.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey’s courtroom was overflowing with supporters of the teens, Savannah Schlueter and Caila Nagel, who were hit by a drug- and alcohol-impaired Samantha Harvey in a crash on May 6, 2020 near Ohio 4 and Symmes Road in Fairfield.

Harvey, 52, of the 600 block of Woodlawn Avenue, was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular assault, two counts of vehicular assault and misdemeanor charges of driving a vehicle under the influence and driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana for the crash that happened about 3 a.m.

She pleaded guilty in January to one count each of aggravated vehicular assault and vehicular assault, both felonies, with a maximum sentence of 78 months in prison.

Following an emotional sentencing hearing in which Caila Nagel spoke from her wheelchair, Haughey sentenced Harvey to 66 months in prison.

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Edgewood High Schools junior Caila Nagel, left, and sophomore Savannah Schlueter were injured after their vehicle was involved in a crash May 6 in Fairfield. Samantha Harvey, the alleged at-fault driver, was charged with felonies. PROVIDED PHOTO

Edgewood High Schools junior Caila Nagel, left, and sophomore Savannah Schlueter were injured after their vehicle was involved in a crash May 6 in Fairfield. Samantha Harvey, the alleged at-fault driver, was charged with felonies. PROVIDED PHOTO

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Edgewood High Schools junior Caila Nagel, left, and sophomore Savannah Schlueter were injured after their vehicle was involved in a crash May 6 in Fairfield. Samantha Harvey, the alleged at-fault driver, was charged with felonies. PROVIDED PHOTO

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kraig Chadrick pointed out Harvey, who has been free on her own recognizance bond, has a significant criminal past, was driving at night with marijuana, methamphetamine and alcohol in her system and ran a red light traveling about 65 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Chadrick projected an image in court of a Facebook event “Sending Samantha off to Prison Party” with Harvey listed as an organizer along with another woman.

The event did not happen, and the defense said Harvey did not organize or participate in the party, which was canceled by the establishment.

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“I am rarely speechless,” Chadrick said in reference to the party. Harvey’s actions indicate “she doesn’t get it or she doesn’t care,” he said.

Harvey turned to the packed courtroom an offered an apology.

“I am not a bad person,” Harvey said. “I am truly sorry.”

Defense attorney Michael Mills said Harvey is a former small business owner who worked to overcome a number of issues that hindered her path to success in life, including domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness and a physical disability.

The attorney added Harvey acknowledges the seriousness of her crime and understands a lifelong commitment to maintaining her sobriety.

“She is haunted by this,” Mills told the judge.

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Samantha Harvey was sentenced to 66 months in prison Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a crash the seriously injured two Edgewood High School students LAUREN PACK/STAFF

Samantha Harvey was sentenced to 66 months in prison Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a crash the seriously injured two Edgewood High School students LAUREN PACK/STAFF

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Samantha Harvey was sentenced to 66 months in prison Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a crash the seriously injured two Edgewood High School students LAUREN PACK/STAFF

Tim Nagel, Caila’s father, read a statement describing the battle his daughter has faced and will face in the future due to the injuries she suffered.

Before the accident Cailia was a great student, a star athlete, and a “joy to watch on and off the court,” Tim Nagel said.

Cailia Nagel was moved in a wheelchair to the front of the courtroom, where she read in a statement in a very quiet voice.

Candy Schlueter, Savannah’s mother, asked the judge to give Harvey the maximum sentence and remembered the night of the crash, wondering at the hospital if it was the last time she would talk to her daughter.

Haughey told Harvey that her actions and statements since the crash had been anything but mitigating.

He said the court has to consider Harvey’s recklessness that injured the teens. The judge noted Harvey made statements about the fact the teens were out so late and the planned party.

“You gave a life sentence to two girls, I don’t care what hour of day it was, I don’t care where they were going, I don’t care where they were coming from, there is no justification ... that either one of them should have to serve life sentences you gave them that night,” Haughey said.

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