CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Another delay was granted in court Wednesday for the driver described by authorities as a ‘menace to society’ who caused a crash that nearly killed a retired Cincinnati firefighter.
Mark Newton, 34, was due before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Lisa Allen to enter a plea or be assigned a court date.
However, the case was continued until June 27 when his lawyer abruptly quit and a new one was appointed at his request.
The victim’s daughter was disappointed and frustrated by the delay, which she said is at least the 20th in this case.
“They surprised us all and now he’s on his third attorney,” said Jenny DeRemer. “Now it will be pushed back ever longer. I feel like the criminals get all the rights and the victims have no rights."
She said Newton was expected to plead out. He was indicted last year on charges of aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular assault and two counts of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination.
“He’s done this before numerous times where he was supposed to plead guilty and then backs out,” she said.
Her father, Bill DeRemer, was 77 at the time of the crash in January 2018.
He was critically hurt and spent several months recovering at hospitals.
We reached out to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office to get an explanation for the high number of delays.
“To my knowledge, all of the continuances have been at the defendant’s request,” said Julie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.
“(The) Defendant fired two attorneys which obviously we have no control over. Unfortunately, when a new attorney is appointed, they need time to become familiar with the case otherwise we risk creating a possible issue on appeal should there be a conviction. This is frustrating and, hopefully, at some point the judge will deny future requests for continuances.”
DeRemer, a Vietnam vet, was driving to the store to buy a lottery ticket on Jan. 11, 2018 when Newton, who was driving a stolen 1997 Chrysler Voyager, crashed into his sport utility vehicle, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
A deputy had spotted the stolen van and turned around to pursue it.
But Newton sped off so fast, the deputy never had time to activate the siren and lights on his cruiser to initiate a pursuit, sheriff’s officials have said.
The next time the deputy saw the van, it had slammed into the side of DeRemer's 2005 Honda CRV at the intersection of Homelawn Avenue and School Section Road.
The impact of the crash was so powerful, it knocked DeRemer’s SUV airborne about 15 feet. It rolled three times and slammed into a house on School Section Road, according to the sheriff’s office.
DeRemer was in a coma for eight days.
He suffered 13 broken ribs; broken pelvis, broken sternum, broken collarbone, broken bones in his back, bleeding on his brain and broken bone in his sinus cavity as well as multiple lacerations that had to be stitched up, according to his daughter.
The fire community and generous donations from business owners helped the family. They provided renovations at their home to make it easier for Bill DeRemer to get around when he came home from Drake Hospital. Their boiler was fixed, and central air conditioning was installed.
“He has permanent brain damage so dealing with that is still hard at times," she said Wednesday. “Physically, his body hurts because he’s got permanent screws in his pelvis. He still has not been able to return to the Cincinnati Fire Museum, where he volunteered for over 20 years. We are blessed he is alive, but he is not the same person.”
Newton has spent his life in and out of county jails and state prisons, records show, and he has never held a license in the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
He has a particularly long criminal record with more than 80 arrests and 11 convictions, including several felonies, court records show.
Just over a month before the crash, in December 2017, he was charged with OVI by Blue Ash police, according to his citation.
He was found asleep behind the wheel of another stolen minivan, court records show.
Newton was released just one month prior, in November 2017, from his third prison stint since 2008, state and county records show.
His driving history with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles runs three pages long. He’s racked up 17 license suspensions since 2007 alone, meaning he could not apply to get a license, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In 2016, he was given a five year license suspension.
In addition, he was cited for speeding in Georgia and failing to control his vehicle in Brown County, state officials have told FOX19 NOW.
Newton was convicted in 2008 of three counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of trafficking in drugs in Hamilton County. He served just over a year in a state prison before he was released in November 2009, according to a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Norwood police wrote in an affidavit he sold crack cocaine during an undercover drug task force operation within 1,000 feet of a school zone in November 2007.
Newton returned to prison in Dec. 17, 2011 after convictions for failure to comply, receiving stolen property and theft out of Butler County and receiving stolen property and possession of drugs in Hamilton County, according to ODRC.
He was released on Aug. 1, 2014 but was back in a state prison by Aug. 16, 2016 after a conviction of failing to comply with a police officer, court records show.