TROY — Sidney resident Eric Pellman, 41, entered a no contest plea Tuesday morning to charges of second-degree felony aggravated vehicular homicide and first-degree misdemeanor operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a cocaine metabolite. Pellman’s pleas of no contest were not part of a plea agreement.
The charges stem from a single-vehicle crash on southbound Interstate 75 which claimed one life and left Pellman and one other person with serious injuries in March. Phillip W. Smith, 33, of Troy, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Miami County coroner.
Pellman was reportedly the driver of the car which overturned on southbound I-75 after striking a sound barrier and a guard rail. Pellman and the right rear seat passenger, Cawthorn Miree, also of Sidney, were transported to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton by CareFlight.
Approximately 10 days later Pellman was arrested on drug charges following the execution of a narcotics search warrant at his residence during a drug raid at Sidney residence on North Main Avenue. Pellman was charged with one count of possession of cocaine, one count of possession of heroin, and one count of possession of criminal tools.
It was noted during Pellman’s hearing Tuesday that the OVI charge Pellman was facing was previously labeled as a fifth-degree felony which was incorrect. It was really a first-degree misdemeanor.
Also during Pellman’s hearing, Pellman’s attorney Stephen W. King stated Pellman had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2005. Pellman has to be under medication and has been receiving his medication regularly in the Miami County Jail.
Judge Christopher Gee ordered a pre-sentencing investigation. Pellman is not eligible for probation or community control, and he is facing between two to eight years in prison with a maximum fine of $15,000 for the charge of aggravated of vehicular homicide. Pellman can face up to six months and between a fine between $375 to $1,075.
A sentencing hearing was set for Feb. 8 at 1:45 p.m.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall