Hit-skip charge so far in Kent traffic death; investigation continues

by DAN POMPILI RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published:

A woman arrested for a July 17 hit-skip crash in downtown Kent has not been charged in connection with the related fatality, officials said.

Allison Eileen Barton, 22, of 7468 Tallmadge Road, Rootstown, was arrested July 17  after a hit-skip crash left Richard Schoepe, 37, a worker at Star of the West Milling Co., dead. But Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said July 22 that the charge that landed her in jail is for a separate incident that occurred moments later and fewer than 500 feet away.

Barton was charged for failure to stop after an accident or collision, a first-degree misdemeanor, after police say she hit a car stopped at the red light at North Water Street and Main Street, then fled.

"We wanted to make sure the judge differentiated between the hit-skip fatality and this collision that she's actually been charged with," Vigluicci said.

The collision that killed Schoepe occurred at Columbus and North Water Streets, near the Star of the West Milling Co. where he had worked for 15 years. Barton was caught 20 minutes later by Brimfield police two miles away.

Vigluicci said the investigation into the crash that killed Schoepe and damaged other vehicles is still under way and, although no charges have been filed, Barton is the primary suspect in his death.

For now, Barton has only being charged in connection with the property damage caused by the collision at the intersection. There were no injuries in that crash. She was arraigned Friday in Portage County Municipal Court in Ravenna, where she pleaded not guilty. A pre-trial is scheduled for Aug. 11.

Barton remains in the Portage County jail on an $8,000 cash bond, while investigators continue to look into Schoepe's death and await the results of Barton's drug and alcohol blood tests.

Should she make bail, Vigluicci said, she would be subject to house arrest with an alcohol-monitoring bracelet and daily drug tests.

He said his office will present a case related to Schoepe's death to the grand jury when the investigation is complete, and additional charges could include aggravated vehicular homicide and felony hit-skip, as well as misdemeanor charges for the other cars that were hit.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or dpompili@recordpub.com

Facebook:Dan Pompili, Record-Courier

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