Charges upgraded for woman accused in teacher's hit and run death

Elder High School teacher Mark Klusman (Provided)
Elder High School teacher Mark Klusman (Provided)
Kayla Wilson (FOX19)
Kayla Wilson (FOX19)
Kayla Wilson cried in court as she was led away Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW)
Kayla Wilson cried in court as she was led away Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Cincinnati woman is facing upgraded charges in the death of a West Side teacher.

Friday, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the new charges against Kayla Wilson in the death of Elder teacher Mark Klusman.

Wilson is now charged with:

  • One count of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Felony 1 for driving while impaired and with a suspended license)
  • One count of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Felony 2 for driving recklessly and with a suspended license)
  • One count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Felony 3)
  • One count of Tampering with Evidence (Felony 3)

Her original charges of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Assault, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident will be dismissed.

If Wilson is convicted, she faces the possibility of 17 years in prison.

Cincinnati police say Wilson was traveling south on Warsaw Avenue Dec. 9, speeding at about 50 mph, when she lost control of a Buick Regal.

The Buick spun sideways and hit a parked 2009 Chevy Colorado pickup truck.

Klusman was standing at the back of the truck and also was hit by the Buick, according to police.

Wilson, meanwhile, backed the Buick away and fled the scene, court records show.

Police searched for the fleeing driver and found the Buick abandoned shortly after at Third Street and Central Avenue in downtown Cincinnati.

From there, investigators say they tracked Wilson down.

She initially gave a false statement, police wrote in an affidavit, and then later confessed to:

  • smoking marijuana before the crash.
  • crashing her vehicle at the scene.
  • knowing she believed she was driving around 50 mph and that speed was too fast for the road.

"She also admitted to knowing she was under suspension at the time of the crash, but did not know she struck the victim," the affidavit states.

Klusman died on Dec. 26 as a result of his injuries.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety said that Wilson has never held a license to legally drive a vehicle in Ohio.

Wilson has now been caught operating a vehicle without a license or driving despite a suspension four times since she was 14, said Lindsey Bohrer, an agency spokeswoman: in 2009, 2015 and twice in the last week - the day of the crash and two days prior.

Wilson has been under two driving suspensions since 2015, state record show. She was convicted Dec. 7 of driving under those suspensions anyway the same day Cincinnati police ticketed her for the offense on Clinton Spring Avenue in North Avondale, Hamilton County court records show.

"Our community lost a beloved teacher, friend, and mentor in a senseless tragedy. Our prison system will gain another inmate." Prosecutor Deters said.

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