Trotwood woman charged in pursuit, deadly crash on US 35 near Drexel

A Trotwood woman accused of fleeing from law enforcement, leading to a pursuit and deadly crash on state Route 49 at U.S. 35 is now facing four felony charges.

Charges were filed Tuesday against Melissa Joan Hutchins, 50, for involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and possession of cocaine, according to Montgomery County Municipal Court - Western Division records.

She is held on $350,000 bail in the Montgomery County Jail.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

The crash has led the Dayton Unit NAACP to demand a harsher penalties for drivers who cause deadly crashes and uniform law enforcement policies regarding when to pursue a suspect following the May 20 pursuit and crash at state Route 49 and U.S. 35 that killed motorist Colby Anthony Ross, 35, of Dayton, who was not involved in the chase.

“Our hearts are heavy to see a young man who’s come from a family that has done nothing but good inside this community, a young man who has lost his life at the hands of a reckless, dangerous, insensitive driver and we are calling upon the full-scale power coming from the prosecutor’s office and the police department, to ensure that this young lady pays the price for killing this man through her reckless behaviors,” said Derrick Foward, president of the local civil rights organization, during a news briefing last week.

A Butler Twp. police officer broadcast around 4:40 p.m. May 20 that a white SUV was wanted for felony failure to comply charges. The SUV’s driver, identified as Hutchins, fled from police during rush hour on Interstate 75 in a construction zone, Streck said last week.

“Approximately three hours later a plainclothes sheriff’s detective in an unmarked vehicle observed the white SUV on Free Pike Avenue,” he said.

The detective was part of Project Safe Neighborhood Targeted Enforcement that works to reduce violent crime and gun violence and which included aerial support from a law enforcement partner, the sheriff said.

“As the wanted vehicle was stopped at the intersection on Free Pike near state Route 49, the detective was able to deploy a tire deflation device on the vehicle successfully,” Streck said. “The vehicle then drove off and failed to yield for deputies, fleeing southbound on state Route 49. A deputy in a marked patrol car initiated a pursuit while waiting on the confirmation that the helicopter was overhead and locking onto the suspect vehicle.

Streck said that sheriff’s office policy allows pursuits in conjunction with air support because of the success in catching fleeing suspects who believe the pursuit is over and slow or abandon the car and run on foot.

“That was the plan for this incident,” Streck said.

Dash camera video from the deputy in pursuit released last Tuesday shows Hutchins start to pull over a few times, but then take off. It also shows the white SUV lose its right rear tire and spin out on state Route 49, either crashing or almost crashing into another car before continuing its flight south on state Route 49.

“The driver accelerated, running the red light at West Third Street and narrowly missing several stopped vehicles. The vehicle struck a BMV convertible that was headed eastbound on U.S. 35. The BMW was forced into the westbound lane, where it struck a black pickup truck. The driver of the BMW was ejected from the vehicle. Although deputies immediately provided aid and requested fire and medics who were stationed nearby, the driver and sole occupant of the BMW was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” Streck said.

The sheriff said Hutchins does not have a license and did not own the SUV she was driving. She also has been charged many times before for driving without a valid license.

The most recent charge was for a hit-and-run crash on June 10, 2023, in Trotwood, during which she did not have a valid license, Montgomery County Municipal Court records show.

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