MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster ruled Friday that Megan Peterson, 19, can retain her driver’s license while she is free on bond from a felony indictment of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The Knox County Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion earlier this month asking the court to force Peterson to surrender her license as a condition of her release.
Peterson was originally charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated assault following an accident on Aug. 4, 2010, which resulted in the death of Keith Homstad, 23, of Johnstown. Following investigation of the accident, the Ohio State Highway Patrol concluded Peterson was texting while she was driving at the time of the accident.
Peterson was cited for assured clear distance on Dec. 20 and pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor on Jan. 4. This charge prompted the motion filed by Knox County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Springer.
“We are asking for Megan’s driving privileges to be suspended or at least give her driving privileges for work purposes only,” said Springer.
Brandon Crunkilton, Peterson’s attorney, disagreed.
“I don’t see how this gives reason for suspension,” said Crunkilton who also stated he saw no reason for the suspension since the December accident was a minor misdemeanor. Revoking her license would be a hardship since she currently works two jobs, he said.
Hearing both sides of the argument, Eyster ruled to deny the request for license suspension, informing Springer that if something else comes up before Peterson’s scheduled trial on March 2, that she could renew any motion.
“It is what it is. The judge has the power to do that,” said Springer in response to Eyster’s decision. “We’re just trying to protect the community.”