Washington Twp. woman sentenced to nearly 5 years in death of Wilmington pedestrian

A Washington Twp. woman will spend just over four years in prison for fatally striking a pedestrian in August while he was crossing a street in Wilmington and then leaving the scene.

Taylor Nicole Thompson, 26, was sentenced last week by Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John Rudduck to nearly five years in prison, with 7½ months of jail time credit. Prosecutors had sought a maximum sentence of 8½ years in prison.

She pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, failure to stop after accident and tampering with evidence. In exchange for her guilty plea, charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide and misdemeanors of OVI and assault were dismissed, according to sentencing documents filed June 11.

Credit: Clinton County Jail

Credit: Clinton County Jail

Thompson was driving a 2011 Dodge Nitro around 2:15 a.m. Aug. 19, 2023, when she struck Daniel Ray Smith of Wilmington as he was crossing South Street in the crosswalk at the intersection with Sugartree Street, according to a crash report filed by the Wilmington Police Department.

Smith was taken to Clinton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The judge notes in his sentencing order that while Thompson’s attorney admits she consumed alcohol before leaving the bar where she worked, he must disregard allegations that she was under the influence.

Also, in recommending the near maximum prison term, prosecutors ignore a number of mitigating circumstances, including that she accepts responsibility for her actions, she pleaded guilty to three felony charges and waived her right to a jury trial and she is “extremely remorseful,” Rudduck wrote.

While Thompson did strike Smith in the crosswalk, video presented in court showed Smith jog across the roadway while Thompson had the right of way with a green traffic light. The judge also noted that the victim had a blood alcohol content of .283, which is 3½ times Ohio’s legal driving limit.

“Defendant’s decision to leave the scene and then feebly try to conceal evidence is a more serious aggravating factor under these circumstances. The court cannot speculate on the outcome of this case had defendant responsibly stopped her motor vehicle at the time of the crash,” the judge stated.

A million wrongful death lawsuit was filed in February in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court by Smith’s father Carliss Smith Jr., who also is the administrator for his son’s estate, against Thompson and her former employer MC’s Bar and Grill at 961 S. South St. in Wilmington.

The lawsuit, which seeks $1 million and punitive damages of more than $250,000, is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 4, 2025, before Judge Timothy O’Connell.

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