A Springfield man was sentenced to less than a year of jail time for misdemeanor counts after fatally striking a girl and injuring another with his car in Green Twp. last year.
Jessie Pierson, 40, of Springfield, appeared in Clark County Municipal Court on Friday afternoon, changing his plea to “no contest” for charges of vehicular homicide, an OVI and texting while driving. As part of the plea agreement, his previous charge of recklessly operating a vehicle was dismissed.
Clark County Municipal Court Judge Valerie Wilt sentenced him to 360 days in the Clark County jail, with 240 days of that sentence suspended given Pierson meeting requirements of his two-year parole.
Isabelle Conley, 11, died at Dayton Children’s Hospital on May 12 from her injuries, passing just two weeks before her 12th birthday.
The second girl, Tori Fritschie, 14 at the time, was hospitalized for nearly a month.
“It is a terrible, awful, unthinkable tragedy that occurred,” said city prosecutor Matthew DiBartola.
Isabelle Conley’s friends and relatives, as well as friends of her family and a former teacher, shared for more than an hour their memories of the 11-year-old, pointing to the impact of her loss. Many of those in attendance wore the color purple, the girl’s favorite color.
Those who knew Isabelle said they remember her for her singing, joy and warm hugs. One person commented that knowing the girl was like finding a four leaf clover in the grass.
Peter and Tracey Conley, the parents of Isabelle, said the events of May 10 and the days that followed forever changed their lives.
The girl’s mother shared that Isabelle was visiting Fritschie for a sleepover on May 10. She said she’ll never forget the feeling she had when she answered her phone and heard her daughter was hit by a car, and she now feels anxiety every time her phone rings.
“You will never know the trauma or pain you caused,” Peter Conely shouted to Peirson during his statement.
His license has also been suspended for three years, effective Friday. He was also issued nearly $2,000 in fines, not including court costs and other fees.
Pierson held his head in his hands during victim impact statements. He declined to share a statement to the court. A family friend of the Conleys gave the man a hug.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol was called to Crabill Road near Pitchin Road in Green Twp. around 8:45 p.m. May 10 on the report of two pedestrians hit by a car, according to the patrol’s investigation report filed in the Clark County Municipal Court.
Pierson was driving a 2007 white Jeep Grand Cherokee north on Crabill Road. The girls were walking along the east side of the roadway with a small dog when the car hit them. All were “set into motion” when hit by the car, which stopped in the roadway after heavy braking, according to the report.
Pierson told troopers that he first saw the two girls and their dog while at a nearby stop sign, where he made a right turn and glanced away for a second and then found the girls were in his path “a couple of feet from the shoulder,” according to his traffic crash statement.
No initial heavy braking was observed by investigators, and no traffic was coming in the opposite direction, according to the OSHP report.
Witnesses told troopers they saw the car swerve to the right toward the girls, who stopped during their dog walk to look at cows on the side of the road.
They also reported that Pierson got out of his vehicle after coming to a stop and told people in the area that he didn’t know what happened, as he was on his phone, according to the report.
Conley was a homeschooled student who lived in the Southeastern Local School District, the district confirmed.
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