By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HAMILTON - A Butler County grand jury will consider whether to indict a 25-year-old Liberty Township man in connection with a fatal traffic crash that authorities say involved alcohol.
Butler County Area II Judge J.B. Connaughton Wednesday found sufficient evidence to send the case of Timothy C. Strait to a grand jury. He initially faced charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to control and failure to wear a seat belt.
Assistant Prosecutor Jason Phillabaum said tests showed Strait's blood-alcohol level was high enough for authorities to file an "enhanced DUI, a super DUI" charge against him. While a typical driving-under-the-influence charge carries a minimum sentence of three days in jail and a 15-day suspension of all driving privileges, the penalties double if a person is found guilty of the enhanced DUI charge, Phillabaum explained.
Under Ohio law, a person is considered too intoxicated to drive if his blood-alcohol level exceeds 0.10. The enhanced DUI may be filed if that level is 0.17 or above. Phillabaum declined to give Strait's specific test result, but said it exceeded that threshold.
The charges against Strait arise from a three-vehicle crash that killed Strait's passenger, Chad Geiger, 25, of Mason, and injured nine others including Strait. The May 18 wreck occurred on Interstate 75 near the Monroe rest area.
Police said cable barriers, installed this year after a series of deadly median-crossover crashes, performed as expected and prevented Strait's vehicle from crossing the median into oncoming traffic - possibly preventing a more tragic result.
Strait's Ohio driving record shows three previous convictions, all in Mason Municipal Court: a 1995 DUI , a 2000 reckless operation and a 2002 improper turn.
Phillabaum said Connaughton agreed to allow Strait to drive to work while his case is pending.
TOP LOCAL STORIES
Chabot's anti-abortion bill near law
Mayor poses election change
Hospitals cash cows for city
Lying juror sent to jail
Prank kills peacock at Mason High
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Photo: Queen of the river
LAURA PULFER COLUMN
Dog breath bragging rights
Downtown challenges 'grave,' consultant says
City hires company despite warning
Obituary: Marjorie Miller Stine was nurse, socialite
AROUND THE TRISTATE
Tristate A.M. Report
Civil War buffs, books get together
Good News: Photo show is a peek at history
Obituary: Frank E. Lang taught at SCPA
Football star facing drug charge
Apartment owner, county face off
Water leak traced to warehouse
West Chester dog festival Sunday
Local murder focus of TV show
Fatal crash goes to grand jury
River needs yearly sweep
School boss retiring to his farm
Damage caps don't curb premiums
Ohio guard duty will last year
Combat air crews donate memorabilia
Ohio Moments: Black Laws cast pall over state
Wife killer gets death sentence
Ohio village loses speed trap
Young obese prone to gum woes
Pendleton officials tour Grant Co. jail
Boone Co. nurse running for House
River rescue unit may be cut
Around the Commonwealth
Indianapolis archdiocese cuts jobs