Lawyers for a Centerville man facing an aggravated vehicular homicide charge in connection with a Thanksgiving 2017 fatal crash with a teen walking along a road outside Springboro are pressing for more information.
Robert C. Pietrantonio’s lawyers want to obtain medical and mental health records of the person killed, Skyler P. Ludington, 18, of Botkins, Shelby County.
Pietrantonio, 56, also was a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed last month on behalf of Ludington’s estate, but this case was dismissed on Oct. 31, according to court records.
Citing information from Pietrantonio’s civil lawyers, his criminal defense lawyers said they need Ludington’s records to “address and uncover potentially why the decedent was traveling in the road, at night, on Thanksgiving, and not reacting to multiple cars or whether circumstantial issues led to decedent to engage in reckless or potentially suicidal behavior.”
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Pietrantonio was charged in July with killing Ludington as he walked along West Lytle-Five Point Road, less than a mile from the father's home, while visiting his father, on Nov. 23, 2017.
Pietrantonio was traveling 16 miles over the speed limit and tested just under the legal limit for alcohol consumption seven hours after the crash, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.
He faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, operating a vehicle while under the influence and failing to stop after an accident to exchange information.
In addition to a Health Information Patient Privacy Act release, lawyers John Smith and Mark Webb want Judge Timothy Tepe to order the prosecution to turn over a forensic exam of Ludington’s cellphone “with particular emphasis at the time of and time leading up to the accident.”
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the dispute involved medical records exchanged during the lawsuit.
“That’s not really our fight, other than defense counsel in the criminal case has filed a motion to get the victim’s historical medical records. The state does not have those medical records. So it’s really a fight between defense counsel and the victim’s estate,” Fornshell said in an email response to questions.
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The highway patrol report indicates the boy went out for a walk after he and his father argued.
“He was in the berm, because there is no sidewalk,” Michael L. Wright, the lawyer representing Ludington’s mother, the executor of his estate, said in July.
Wright could not be reached Monday to comment on behalf of the estate.
A hearing is scheduled Wednesday on the defense motion.
Witnesses told troopers that Pietrantonio stopped after the crash, but left when he learned police had been called, according to the crash report.
In the motion, filed on Dec. 5, his lawyers said, “There is independent witness testimony from up to four sources that the decedent failed to move or take any evasive action while walking within the road facing away from traffic at approximately 10:30 p.m. in the evening on Nov. 23, 2017. All witnesses reported he was difficult to see, made no attempt to get out of the way or react to the other drivers. All four had to go left of center to go around him, and one witness commented he initially looked like a deer.”
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Pietrantonio was found at his home nearby, off Yankee Road, but no charges were filed as the Ohio Highway Patrol investigated the crash.
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