Driver gets maximum in death of 12-year-old girl

Mother of Kayla Mongold tells judge that driver chose to flee police.

A judge sentenced a fleeing driver Tuesday to the maximum of 11 years in prison, one year less than the age of the girl he struck and killed.

Joseph Thomson, 30, lost control of his SUV, went off the road and hit 12-year-old Kayla Mongold on June 24 as she was walking with a friend.

Gloria Mongold, Kayla’s mother, said, “When he ran he gave my daughter a death sentence.”

Thomson accepted a plea agreement on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Gloria Mongold said the events of June 24 changed her family forever when Springfield police tried to pull Thomson over for speeding. It was no accident when he chose to flee, she said.

“He chose to hit the gas instead of the brake. He chose to run from police instead of pull over and take his consequences,” Gloria Mongold said. “From the time he hit the gas she only had a minute and 33 seconds of life.”

Thomson cried while Gloria Mongold spoke and during remarks by Elizabeth Frantz, whose daughter was walking home with Kayla when Thomson struck her. Thomson read a letter to Kayla’s family asking for forgiveness.

“My actions were a chain of mistakes that actually followed originally from being scared, being scared of going to jail and being removed from my children and my wife,” Thomson said. “Constantly I am tormented with the details replaying in my mind, wishing I had just done one thing differently.”

The day of the crash, Thomson’s license was suspended and he was on probation for a heroin charge out of Montgomery County. He also had alcohol in his system, although it was below the legal limit, said Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard O’Neill.

While O’Neill said he believes Thomson has “genuine remorse” for his actions, he said the facts leading up to the crash and that Thomson has been caught driving without a license or while it was under suspension eight times before is why he gave him the maximum sentence.

“His record would indicate that having a valid driver’s license was not something he considered necessary,” O’Neill said.

No restitution was ordered. Thomson will have a chance to appeal.