Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Fatal shooting heads to grand jury

15-year-old girl killed at 'field party'

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DRY RIDGE — A grand jury could get the case today of a 24-year-old Dry Ridge man who is accused of fatally shooting a Grant County High School student.

        Joseph C. Meither had been drinking before he shot Tammy Rhea Vickers, 15, of Grant County at a field party near Mount Zion on Friday, said Detective Curtis Finley of Post 6 in Dry Ridge.

        Mr. Meither told investigators he didn't know Ms. Vickers was in the line of fire, and Detective Finley said he believes the shooting was not intentional.

        “The biggest lesson we have learned here ... as a community is that guns and alcohol are a deadly combination,” said Detective Finley. “Guns are deadly enough without alcohol, and the two sure don't mix.”

        Mr. Meither was being held at Grant County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond Tuesday afternoon. A judge ruled Mr. Meither could be released if he posted 10 percent of the bond.

        Detective Finley, who has been on the force more than five years, said he has come across what authorities describe as “field parties” before.

        He said teen-agers will gather in a field at a rural farm and drink alcohol and socialize. The young people feel they won't create a disturbance by gathering in the country.

        The field party in Grant County was on land owned by Jerry Meither, father of Joseph Meither. At least 15 people were at the party, whose host was Joseph's 19-year-old brother Michael, according to police.

        Detective Finley said there are inherent dangers with field parties.

        The parties seem to create a lot of underage drinking, there is no adult supervision and people drive away drunk from the rural party locations.


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