MOUNT VERNON — Megan Peterson entered a plea of guilty to two misdemeanors, one count each of vehicular homicide and assault, on Monday in Mount Vernon Municipal Court.
Peterson, 19, had originally been charged with felonies of aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated assault in November 2010 following an accident which resulted in the death of Keith M. Homstad Jr., 23, of Johnstown. An investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol concluded that Peterson had been texting while driving at the time of the accident.
Knox County Common Pleas Judge Otho Eyster ruled on Jan. 28 that Peterson could keep her driver’s license after the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion that her license be surrendered as a condition of her release. This was conditional that Peterson have no further violations before any trial.
Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher was unable to comment on the lesser misdemeanor charges while the case is still pending and under presentence investigation. He explained that when a guilty plea is entered, the plea can still be withdrawn, thus jeopardizing a fair trial if public comment is made by a prosecutor.
Brandon Crunkilton, Knox County Public Defenders Office, who had been representing Peterson, was unavailable for comment.
Peterson’s sentencing is scheduled for May 16 in Mount Vernon Municipal Court.