NEWARK – A Newark woman was sentenced to seven years in prison for causing the 2017 crash that killed a Roseville woman.
Tiffany R. Fisher, 32, of Newark, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, one a first-degree felony and the other a second-degree felony; and two counts of operating under the influence, both first-degree misdemeanors. The state elected to sentence on the first-degree aggravated vehicular homicide charge.
Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Cliff Murphy said on Christmas Eve in 2017, Fisher drove left of center on U.S. 40, attempting to pass another vehicle when she collided with a 2003 Honda Odyssey. A passenger of the Honda, 73-year-old Delma Ross, died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Murphy said although Fisher told troopers she was driving about 65 mph, an Ohio Highway Patrol crash investigator estimated her speed was between 82-92 mph in a 55 mph zone.
The assistant prosecutor added Fisher was looking at her phone at the time of the crash and was driving under a suspended license. Later, he said he was particularly disturbed by information presented during a suppression hearing for the case – that Fisher had over 10 times the amount of the active component in THC that makes someone feel high and she had over 400 milligrams of marijuana in her system.
Fisher, he said, passed in a double yellow line while under three separate license suspensions. In one of the courts in which her license was suspended, Fisher allegedly told them she could do whatever she wanted.
“How many times does someone have to drive under suspension, how many time does the court have to tell someone they can’t drive under suspension…before they get the message?” Murphy asked aloud. “This is by far one of the most outrageous cases of death by auto. It’s not an accident.”
Addressing the court, Fisher said while she could say many things, words wouldn’t change the hurt from that day.
“I would like to sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart how truly sorry I am for the loss of your loved one. When I got into my car on Dec. 24, 2017 Christmas Eve, I would have never imagined on that evening someone would lose their life and so many hearts would be broken on a day that’s supposed to be shared with loved ones…,” Fisher said. “I know my words can never take away the pain, hurt the Ross family has.”
She asked aloud how an accident could turn into such a tragedy and told the family she prays for them daily.
Standing in the courtroom for that hearing was something Terry Dawson said he never thought he’d be doing.
“We hope that Miss Fisher has cherished her time for the last year with her children and her family because she has changed ours forever,” he said, adding he hopes now she can spend the time getting herself together and reflecting on life. Dawson, Ross’ son-in-law, said he hoped the court wouldn’t see the crash as an accident because Fisher had risked not only her life, but the lives of others.
In sentencing Fisher, Judge Thomas Marcelain said he considered her history of drug or alcohol use and her history of driving under license suspension. He added he found the video of her incarceration disturbing and bizarre, that it demonstrated someone who is 10 times the legal limit for prohibited illegal drugs.
“Those were choices you made,” Marcelain told her simply, continuing to say the first thing she could as an example for her three children is having the ability to follow the law – something he said doesn’t seem that hard or shouldn’t be.
Fisher’s drivers license was suspended for life and she was given a 76 day jail time credit. Upon her release from prison, Fisher will be placed on a mandatory five-year post-release control. https://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/2019/01/03/newark-woman-gets-7-years-prison-christmas-eve-2017-fatal-crash/2451628002/