A man pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and operating a vehicle under the influence charges in connection to a deadly pedestrian strike in Miami Twp. more than a year ago.
William P. Tracey, 52, was initially indicted on aggravated vehicular homicide, OVI and operating a vehicle while under the influence charges in the death of 62-year-old Kevin Wakefield, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas records.
On Wednesday, Tracey pleaded guilty to one of three operating a vehicle while under the influence charges and a vehicular manslaughter charge. All remaining charges were waived.
Tracey is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24.
“Traffic deaths are always tragic, regardless of how they occur,” said Tracey’s defense attorney, Brock Schoenlein. “But the evidence in this matter was simply insufficient to make a felony homicide. This case is a good example of how the criminal system works very well when prosecutors and defense attorneys both have an opportunity to fully dissect the evidence.”
On Dec. 14, 2021, Tracey was driving a Ford F-150 in Oakwood Village when he hit Wakefield, who was on the sidewalk, according to a Miami Twp. police crash report. The crash reportedly threw Wakefield into the skirting of his home.
Tracey had marijuana, amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system, according to the crash report.
Medics transported Wakefield to Kettering Health, where he died.
Schoenlein, said the crash occurred when Tracey had momentarily lost consciousness.
“During litigation we were able to focus on the issues more closely,” Schoenlein said. “When questioning the police, I was able to draw out that Tracey did not exhibit traditional signs of impairment.”
He added Tracey was taking cold medicine for COVID-19 symptoms at the time and claimed the medication could’ve impacted lab results.
Staff writer Daniel Susco contributed to this report.