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Driver guilty of manslaughter in cyclist’s death

The driver accused in the death of a motorcyclist in July last year in Moorefield Twp. was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter this week in Clark County Municipal Court.

According to court records, Sarah D. Thaxton, 42, of 1307 Northfield Court, failed to yield her minivan at a stop sign on Willow Road at Urbana Road and drove into the path of the oncoming motorcycle driven by Dennis Howell, 52, of Springfield.

Thaxton pleaded no contest to the second-degree misdemeanor. He was penalized with a maximum $750 fine; 90 days of jail, all of which were suspended; two years probation with 30 days of electronic monitoring; 200 hours of community service, and two years of driver’s license suspension.

She could have served up to six months in jail.

An additional charge of vehicular homicide was filed, but that was dismissed after Thaxton pleaded not guilty, according to court records.

The crash on July 17 also seriously injured a 13-year-old boy who was a passenger on the motorcycle. Both the boy and Howell were ejected from the bike. Howell was not wearing a helmet.

The speed of Howell’s motorcycle was not indicated in court records, but the posted speed limit is 55 mph. The van was traveling about 10 mph.

An 8-year-old passenger in Thaxton’s van sustained serious injuries. A second 8-year-old passenger and Thaxton sustained minor injuries.

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