Thursday, August 17, 2000

Woman says husband caused crash

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The wife of a Kings Mills man testified Wednesday that her husband became angry because he didn't want to go to work and stepped on her foot while it was on the gas pedal, causing the car to spin out of control and crash.

        “He grabbed the wheel and stomped on my foot,” Debra K. Wells said at John Koller's preliminary hearing in Butler County Area II Court.

        “I was so scared,” she said. “I lost control of the car. It started spinning and skidding and hit a concrete wall.”

        Mr. Koller, 31, is charged with domestic violence, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of aggravated vehicular assault.

        After listening to Ms. Wells' testimony, Judge J.B. Connaughton ruled there was sufficient evidence to send the case to a Butler County grand jury.

        The judge continued Mr. Koller's bond at $10,000. Mr. Koller has been free since his relatives posted 10 percent of the bond on the day after the July 11 crash.

        The wreck occurred as Ms. Wells, 45, was driving Mr. Koller and her 8-year-old daughter, Jennifer Wells, to Hamilton on the Michael A. Fox Highway near the Cincinnati-Dayton Road interchange.

        Mr. Koller said nothing during the hearing.

        Ms. Wells gave her testimony while sitting in a wheelchair with her right leg propped up.

        She said she suffered two broken bones in her leg and a crushed knee in the accident, while her daughter had a bruised shoulder and a cut face.

        At one point, she cried so hard during her testimony that she had to pause for about two minutes before she could continue.

        Ms. Wells said Mr. Koller argued about going to work when he got into the car at their house in Kings Mills, fell asleep and then began arguing again when he woke up just as the car turned onto the highway.

        She said they have been married for four months. She and her daughter no longer live with him.

        Ms. Wells said she didn't think Mr. Koller was trying to step on the brake when he stomped on her foot.


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- Woman says husband caused crash