Woman shouldn’t have been charged in connection with Hamilton crash that killed 6-year-old
July 1 – A Butler County grand jury refused to charge a woman who was indicted in a fatal accident in May that left a boy dead and his brother injured, and the county prosecutor said that ‘she shouldn’t have faced charges in the first place.
Hortencia Garcia, 26, of Cincinnati, has been charged with falsifying evidence, a felony, for allegedly retrieving a “wad” of money from a car after the accident and hiding it in her bra . She stopped because she knew the driver.
On Wednesday, a grand jury refused to indict Garcia with the charge and the case was dismissed.
Nolen Scott Jones, 6, of Hamilton, died of head injuries sustained when he was hit by the car while crossing Pleasant Avenue at around 6:45 p.m. on May 11. His 11-year-old brother, Logan Watson, was also injured.
The driver of the car, Elizabeth Ann Marie Mehl, 30, of Corwin Avenue in Hamilton, was initially charged with OVI and endangering children, both crime and drug abuse. There were two children, aged 10 and 3, in the car at the time of the crash, Hamilton police said.
Butler County District Attorney Michael Gmoser said Garcia should never have been charged.
At a preliminary hearing in Hamilton City Court in May, officers said Garcia first retrieved Mehl’s purse from the car so that police could identify it. She then took out a small purse containing over $ 1,000 from the car and hid it in her bra, the officer said.
Butler County District Attorney Michael Gmoser said the facts in Garcia’s case did not support the charge because she had permission to retrieve items from the car.
“There was a communication failure between investigators on the case, which resulted in the accusation of a person who should not have been,” Gmoser said.
Garcia spent several days in the Butler County jail, but was released on $ 30,000 bail on May 19.
At the request of the Butler County District Attorney’s Office, the misdemeanor charges against Mehl were dismissed by Hamilton City Court to avoid possible dual criminality issues, as further investigation of the accident could result in more serious charges at the common plea tribunal level.
Mehl, who is free on $ 70,000 bail, was also in city court in May for a preliminary hearing, where Judge Dan Gattermeyer found sufficient evidence to bind the drug addiction charge to the grand jury. His case is still awaiting presentation to a grand jury.