Driver gets 16 years in jail for crash that killed West Chester - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Driver gets 16 years in jail for crash that killed West Chester utility worker

Michele Schuster on the stand in April (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW) Michele Schuster on the stand in April (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW)
24-year-old Amber Rooks died 11 days after the crash. (Provided photo) 24-year-old Amber Rooks died 11 days after the crash. (Provided photo)
BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

The driver who killed utility worker Amber Rooks in West Chester last year was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday.

Michele Schuster, 24, hit five workers with her vehicle as they installed power lines on Cox Road near the Liberty Way intersection in May of last year. 

Rooks, 24, died from her injuries 11 days after the incident.

In addition to the 16 years in prison, Schuster will have a lifetime suspension on her license. The maximum jailtime Schuster could have spent was 23 years.

"Life is about the only thing I would have been ok with, but the judge did what he did," Rooks' mother Shannon Dethlets said. 

In April, Schuster was found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide, three counts of aggravated vehicular assault and OVI in the crash.

"I have a little boy who has now been diagnosed with PTSD, depression," Dethlets said. "He asks me why, I can't tell him why. I can't explain someone else's actions."

When police searched her 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier, they found a stun gun and three alprazolam, or Xanax, pills, court records show. The prescription drug treats panic or anxiety disorders.

Schuster said that the day of the crash she was unknowingly drugged by a man named Kevin Bowman after they ate lunch together. 

She said that orange juice in Bowman's truck was laced with Xanax. 

In Bowman's testimony in April, he denied drugging Schuster and claimed that didn't have Xanax the day of the incident.  

FOX19 NOW will continue to update this story. 

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