By Kimberly Pistone
For the Sidney Daily News
SIDNEY – Dayren Rocubert, 29, of Hialeah, Florida, was sentenced to 180 days in the Shelby County Jail – the maximum penalty – for one count of vehicular manslaughter at the Sidney Municipal Court on Oct. 3, 2023. More than a dozen friends and family of the victims traveled from Livonia, Michigan, to observe the proceedings and give victim impact statements. Two people came in support of Rocubert.
On Christmas Eve 2022, Rocubert was driving his Freightliner truck northbound on Interstate 75 near mile marker 97 when he crossed over the median and into the southbound lane, where he struck two vehicles causing the deaths of Lauren Hahn, Kimberly A. Siegrist, Jeremy Boehne, Karen M. Boehne and one unborn baby boy.
At the time of the crash, the officers who responded could not smell any alcohol on Rocubert, and the decision was made to charge misdemeanors in the Municipal Court, with the understanding that the toxicology report could result in felony charges at the Common Pleas Court as well.
The toxicology report came back after the crash showing that Rocubert had three different drugs exceeding the legal limits for a driver. However, the prosecutor for the municipal case took a plea deal for one count of vehicular homicide before the toxicology report came back, and this is what Rocubert was sentenced for on Oct. 3. The municipal charges are separate from all pending criminal charges.
Judge Gary Carter of the Sidney Municipal Court presided. Rocubert was provided with a Spanish interpreter. The defense attorney asked for an additional continuance, stating that this case would likely be included in the criminal case which is currently on appeal for double jeopardy. Carter stated that there had been four continuances already and that he did not agree that this should be merged with the criminal case and that sentencing could continue after victim statements were made.
The first family member to speak was Kathy Yager, on behalf of her husband Dave Boehne. Dave Boehne is the father to Jeremy, one of the victims in the Christmas Eve crash. Yager spoke about the impact on the family, and also the impact on her health and job. Yager said, “Jeremy and Karen were married for six months and were excited to welcome a baby. We must know all justice and due diligence has been taken.”
Next to speak was Mike Hesse, best friend to David Hahn, the father of victims Lauren and Karen, and former husband of Kimberly Siegrist. Hesse said, “This was a great tragedy and it changed everything. I lay in bed at night and wonder why did this happen? An individual who has no insurance, was not correctly licensed, and was driving an unloaded truck…There is no punishment too harsh for this guy. It wasn’t just an accident. He was irresponsible and showed disrespect for the law.”
The final speaker was David Hahn, who also showed photos of the victims through their lives, including a photo of all four adult victims at Jeremy and Karen’s wedding in June 2022. He asked Rocubert, “Where were you going? Why are you hiding where you were going [on Christmas Eve]?” Rocubert, through the interpreter, said, “Unfortunately we cannot make any comments.”
The judge ended with, “Our hearts go out to the families. You have our deepest sympathy. Mr. Rocubert, you behaved in an irresponsible manner last December – a blizzard, drugs – and there was a terrible accident. Five people died. Our case today only involves one: Jeremy. You pled no contest to vehicular homicide, a first degree misdemeanor.” He then sentenced Rocubert to 180 days in jail, with 3 days of jail credit granted, to be served immediately. Additionally, Rocubert must pay a $250 fine and his license is suspended for five years.
This case is also going through the Common Pleas (criminal) court. At this time, the defense attorney has filed that criminal charges are double jeopardy and the criminal case should not move forward. Judge James F. Stevenson of the Shelby County Common Pleas Court ruled there is no double jeopardy, but there is an automatic appeal for all double jeopardy cases. The prosecuting attorney, Timothy Sell, has filed for the appeal to be dismissed on an expedited calendar and hopes to be able to proceed with this criminal case within the next few months.
After Rocubert left the courtroom with court officials, Dave Boehne, Jeremy’s father, said, “This is long overdue and only the beginning.”