A Middletown man was sentenced to 48 months in prison on Thursday after earlier admitting to recklessly operating his vehicle last summer in a crash that killed a Rumpke worker.
Brian Jankovich, 41, of Central Avenue, pleaded guilty in March to aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, which is a lesser charge than the original indictment. Jankovich faced a maximum of five years in prison.
David J. Evans, 52, of Cincinnati, stopped the Rumpke truck on Central Avenue near Marshall Road about 6:30 a.m. on July 30, 2018. A tan 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche operated by Jankovich struck Evans and pinned him against the rear of the Rumpke truck, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol report.
According to the report, the Rumpke truck had its safety lights activated while Evans was collecting trash in his reflective safety gear. There were also levels of marijuana in Jankovich’s system at the time of the crash.
Butler County Judge Greg Stephens’ courtroom was packed Thursday afternoon for Jankovich’s sentencing. Many, including Jankovich and his wife, Jeanie, cried waiting for the hearing to begin.
“You do not know how much you hurt me and my family on July 18, 2018 when you took my husband, David, from my life,” said Kelly Evans, David’s wife.
She said Jankovich was careless when he got behind the wheel.
Kelly Evans said her husband was her life and love and “the kindest guy” who was involved in volunteer work in church and a Cincinnati area high school.
Kelly Evans said her husband knew his customers by name, and they knew him. Some stood in line for hours at his funeral to say goodbye, she said.
“There is not a day that goes by that I (don’t) wish I had one more day to see him … and say I love you,” she said.
Jeanie Jankovich, Jankovich’s wife, cried as she told the judge about the day of the accident. She told him the crash happened 15 houses from their home and Evans was their garbage man.
“Brian is not this guy the media and everybody has seen. Nobody has heard anything about what really happened that day. I was the last person to see Brian when he left our house that morning to go out and provide for our family just like Mr. Evans was doing,” she said.
Jeanie Jankovich said they may never know what happened that day because her husband has no memory of it, but “(he) would never have any intention to leave the house to hurt anybody.”
She added that “our heart break or his (Evans’) family because every day when we back out of our driveway that is what we see.”
Jankovich told the judge that “I am not a criminal. I swear on this court I was not under the influence. Granted, I had marijuana in my system, but it had to be a build up of use at night. I am so sorry to the victim’s family. Every day my heart breaks.”
Defense attorney Frank Schiavone III told the judge Jankovich suffered a back injury and became addicted to opioids as a result. He then turned to medical marijuana to overcome pain and stop the opioid usage.
Schiavone said Jankovich used marijuana to sleep and for pain the night before but “he had not been partying all night.”
Jankovich did not see the truck, Schiavone said, adding his client is “crushed” by the accident and sending him to prison will do noting to help him or the situation.
Stephens pointed to Jankovich’s conviction 20 years ago for marijuana usage as well as a police report the marijuana levels at the time of the accident were elevated and would impair him.
“The reality is Mr. Evans is never coming home,” Stephens said.
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