Police testify man in fatal motorcycle crash was driving impaired

The case of a Cincinnati man charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in a crash last month on Interstate 75 that killed a Middletown motorcyclist will now be considered by a Butler County grand jury.

Anthony Dwuan Howard, 35, was charged on Oct. 22, hours after the crash in West Chester Twp. He has been held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond since his arrest.

Investigators said they believe Howard was driving impaired at the time of the crash, around 3:40 a.m., on southbound I-75 in West Chester Twp. Lt. Clint Arnold said alcohol was a factor in the crash and other impairments are being tested. Howard also was charged with OVI, according to court documents.

MORE: Aggravated vehicular homicide charge filed in crash that killed motorcyclist

Motorcyclist Timothy Sharp, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene. He died from multiple traumatic injuries and his death was ruled an accident, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

During a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Butler County Area III Court, Ohio State Trooper Justin Valentine testified he was parked in the median of the northbound lanes watching traffic early on the morning of Oct. 22 when a vehicle pulled up to report the incident.

“They (occupants of the vehicle) stated there was a body in the road on the southbound side,” Valentine said.

The trooper then went to the scene and found Sharp in the road, a motorcycle and Howard in his Acura pulled to the side of the interstate.

Howard was sitting in the driver’s seat, according to the trooper.

“His (Howard) speech was slow and slurred,” Valentine said, adding Howard smelled strongly of alcohol.

The trooper said Howard “performed poorly” on field sobriety tests.

Initially, Howard said he had not been consuming alcohol, Valentine said. But later Howard said he last consumed an alcoholic beverage at 1 a.m., the trooper said.

MORE: Hearing continued for man charged in fatal crash

Trooper Nathan Stanfield , investigator for the Ohio Highway Patrol, testified that witness testimony as well as ODOT camera footage indicate Howard’s vehicle was speeding seconds before the crash occurred.

Stanfield said Howard told him he had consumed three alcoholic beverages.

“He (Howard) told me he nodded off and struck the motorcycle,” Stanfield said.

Howard declined an alcohol test at the West Chester Police Department, so troopers got a search warrant for a blood test.

During questioning by Howard’s attorney Herb Haas, Stanfield said a miscommunication about the hospital that was permitted to perform the blood test resulted in two tests being performed — one at 8:30 a.m. and the other nearly three hours later.

After the hearing, Judge Dan Haughey found sufficient evidence to bind the case over to a grand jury for consideration.

Haas requested bond be reduced, noting Howard was cooperative with law enforcement, did not leave the scene of the crash and has no prior record. But the judge continued the same bond with the 10 percent rule.

Sharp worked at Steelcraft in Blue Ash and often stayed with his girlfriend in Middletown, according to family members. He was heading to work at the time of the accident, his family said.

MORE: Ross Twp. teen gets 30 years in prison for shooting death of classmate

About the Author