Driver in Wyoming crash that killed priest expected to plead gui - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Driver in Wyoming crash that killed priest expected to plead guilty

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Jeffrey R. Higgins will plead guilty this week to vehicular homicide in a July 9 accident that flipped his red Mustang and killed his passenger, the Rev. Christopher Coleman, according to court documents. He was charged and released on his own recognizance Aug. 30.

Higgins, 51, of Milford, waived indictment by the Hamilton County Grand Jury and will appear in the courtroom of Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Ethna Cooper Sept. 13 to enter his guilty plea by way of information, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Julie Wilson, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, said this is another way of filing charges that allows police, prosecutors and the defendant and his attorney to come to an agreement regarding the charges that will be filed.

Higgins told police he and the Rev. Coleman were taking his Mustang for a drive. He was leaving the golf club and turning west onto Mount Pleasant Avenue when he said the back end of the car kicked out to the right and then the car went left.

He estimated his speed at 20 to 30 mph. The sheriff's report, however, estimated the car's speed at 54 mph based on skid marks and the information extracted from the car's air bag control module. The speed limit is 25 mph. 

A number of witnesses to the fatal accident told police they heard squealing tires, saw the speeding car swerve, skid, tumble over an embankment and land on its top in a sand trap on the golf club's eighth hole.

The Rev. Coleman, seated on the passenger side of the car, sustained serious injuries in the crash and was extricated by members of the Wyoming Fire Department. He was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The speed contributed to the accident, according to a copy of the traffic report prepared by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office traffic safety section. The Enquirer obtained the report through a public records request.

The report says there was no indication of drug or alcohol use and no reason to administer to Higgins a test for drugs or alcohol. There was also no indication that the driver was on his phone or texting at the time of the crash. Higgins told police he had three beers over the course of the afternoon. The report says standardized field sobriety tests were administered following the accident, which Higgins passed. 

Higgins, listed as president and CEO of Savor Seasonings LLC, which manufactures seasonings for the snack food industry such as barbecue flavoring for potato chips, has not commented publicly since the fatal accident. His attorney, Alex Triantafilou, also had no comment.

The Rev. Coleman was pastor of the Winton Wyoming Pastoral Region, which includes the parishes of Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenhills, St. James of the Valley in Wyoming and St. Matthias in Forest Park.

Powered by Frankly