The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 31, 2010

Drunk driver pleads guilty

Geneva man caused death of 40-year-old mother

JEFFERSON —  The Geneva man who killed a 40-year-old mother of two in a drunk-driving accident just before Christmas pleaded guilty to homicide and assault Monday, Prosecutor Thomas Sartini said.

William Johns, 45, was driving drunk on Dec. 18, 2009, when he failed to stop at a stop sign on Maple Road in Geneva Township, Ohio State Highway Patrol reports show. Johns’ F-150 pickup collided with Tammy Phillipp’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, OHP reports and both vehicles went off the west side of the road. Phillips’ Jeep overturned, trapping passenger Carri Shehan in the vehicle. Shehan died of her injuries. Tammy Phillips and husband, Fred, both of Geneva-on-the-Lake, were seriously injured. Johns suffered minor injuries, OHP reports show.

Johns’ blood alcohol concentration was 0.103 percent, crash reports show, exceeding the state statutory limit of 0.08 percent.

In Common Pleas Court on Monday, Johns pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and two counts of aggravated vehicular assault. He faces up to 18 years in prison if the maximum sentences are imposed consecutively, Sartini said.

Judge Alfred Mackey referred the case to the county Adult Probation Department for a presentencing investigation.

Court records show Johns delayed pleading until the court-imposed deadline. Johns also faces a civil lawsuit filed by Shehan’s estate in April, court records show. That case will enter mediation in November, court records show.

Johns has no previous driving-while-impaired charges, court records show.

Shehan, who was Tammy Phillipp’s stepsister, had two teenage daughters, Raychelle L. Shehan and Amber N. Phillipp. She enjoyed going to the beach and parks, NASCAR racing, horses, basketball, reading and loved to be with her kids, her family said.


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